This dish has its roots in Jamaican stewed pork, but I’ve upped the capsicum (or allspice) to really make it sing. Fragrant and multi-layered, the seasoning pairs brilliantly with pork belly, while the green seasoning, a paste made with herbs, aromatics, and alliums that is common throughout the Caribbean, adds great flavor. Rice is tasty and convenient; frozen mixed greens also work well, as do other vegetables like squash, green beans, and bell peppers.
Pork belly with peppers with vegetable rice
Freeze fresh thyme in a plastic bag to prevent spoilage. Once frozen, the leaves fall off and collect at the bottom of the bag, where they can be scooped out, while the stems can be used to flavor soups and stews.
Homework 20 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
It serves 4
For the pork belly
2½cm piece of fresh ginger (about 20g), peeled and coarsely chopped
5 garlic clovespeeled and coarsely chopped
1 small bunch of fresh coriander
1 small bunch of fresh parsley
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
4 spring onionstrimmed and coarsely chopped
½ white onionbare
⅓ red bell pepperpith and seeds removed
1 scotch bonnet chile (if you prefer less heat, remove and discard the seeds and pith)
1 tablespoon salt
A splash of cider vinegar
1 kg of boneless pork belly slicespeeled and cut into 5 cm pieces.
1 tablespoon pepper berries
½ tablespoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
350ml chicken broth
For the vegetable rice
4 spring onionssliced and finely chopped
½ white onionpeeled and finely chopped
4 garlic clovespeeled and chopped
200 g long grain ricewashed
3 medium carrots (about 250g), trimmed and finely chopped
200g peas (frozen are fine)
200 g of sweet corn kernels (again, frozen are fine)
165g coconut milk
250-300 ml of vegetable broth
5 thyme stalks
½ teaspoon pepper berries
First, make the green seasoning. Put the ginger, garlic, herbs, onions, red pepper, scotch bonnet, salt, two tablespoons of oil, and vinegar in a blender and blend gently.
Place the pork in a bowl with the ground allspice and cayenne, and rub together. Add three tablespoons of the green seasoning, stir to coat, then marinate for one hour (or cover and refrigerate overnight). Refrigerate any leftover green seasoning and use within a week; works well as a quick marinade with all kinds of fish, meat, and vegetables.
Put two tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then fry the pork in batches for about five minutes each, until golden brown all over, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan as you go. Transfer the browned meat to a bowl and repeat with the remaining pork.
Scrape everything from the pan down to the bowl and wipe it clean with a paper towel. In the same skillet, heat the sugar until melted, then watch carefully as it caramelizes and changes from golden to dark brown and bubbly. Return pork to pan and toss to coat. Add broth, mix well, cover, and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.
While the pork is cooking, make the rice. Put two tablespoons of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add the scallions, white onion, and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes to flavor the oil, then add the rice and all the vegetables, until well coated. Add coconut milk and broth (liquid should cover rice by about 1½cm), then add thyme stalks and allspice berries, as well as salt if necessary. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is cooked. Off the heat, fluff up with a fork, cover again, and steam for 10 minutes.
Once the pork is cooked, lift the lid and cook uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and turned dark and shiny. Turn off the heat, rest for five minutes and then serve with the vegetable rice.