Richard Thompson’s Slow Cooked Island Pork Belly With Lobster

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Rich and filling, chef Robert Thompson‘s slow cooked pork belly features a dream combination of pork, pasta and lobster – all on one plate. The youngest ever chef to receive a Michelin star (at the tender age of 23) Richard’s recipe requires a lot of time to create, but you can be rest assured that planning ahead will result in a truly memorable edible experience.

Ingredients
For the lobster and cep mix:
2 lobsters
500g of cep mushrooms, sliced

For the pork belly:
1.5kg pork belly
1 knob of butter
1 dash of olive oil
vegetable oil

For the pasta dough
500g of pasta flour
6 egg yolks
1 egg
olive oil
100ml of water
salt

For the béchamel sauce:
200ml of milk
30g of flour
30g of butter
100g of Parmesan, grated
salt
black pepper
1 onion, chopped finely
1 tbsp of black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

For the brine:
3.3l water
200g of brown sugar
10 juniper berries
1 sprig of thyme
1 garlic clove
1 sprig of rosemary
200g of sea salt
150ml of white wine vinegar
10 peppercorns
4 cloves
2 bay leaves

Method:
1 Bring all the brine ingredients to the boil in a large pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
2 Submerge the pork belly in the cooled brine, ideally leave for 2-3 days which will improve the pork’s flavour2
3 Put the lobster in a freezer. This will render it insensate. Boil some water. Once the lobster is insensate, place it on its back with its claws tied and hold it firmly by the top of its head
4 Place the tip of a very sharp chef’s knife on the head just beneath its mouth, lining the blade up with the lobster’s midline with the blade side pointed toward its tail. The first cut should be directed forwards toward the head, and the second backwards down the midline towards the tail
5 Pierce the lobster’s head downward, then place the knife tip just to the body side of the junction of its tail and thorax and cut through the midline.
6 Once the lobster is dead, pull the head away from the tail and pull the claws off. Cook the tail in simmering water for 3 minutes and the claws for 5. Put both into iced water for 5 minutes. Drain
7 Remove all the flesh from the cooked body and tail. Crack the claws and extract all the flesh. Dice the claw and knuckle meat and slice the tails each into 6 pieces
8 Remove the belly from the brine and rinse very well. Braise the pork belly with olive oil and cook with a sprig of thyme at 170°C/Gas mark 3 for 2 ½ hours
9 Remove from the oven then cool rapidly in the fridge
10 Press the cooled pork between two trays – with a heavy weight placed on the top tray – overnight in the fridge
11 Then, make the pasta. In a food processer blend the flour with a good pinch of salt and a little olive oil. Add the egg yolks and the whole egg then slowly add the water. Knead until completely smooth. Rest the dough in the fridge for at least one hour
12 Roll out 300g of the pasta dough down to number 2 on a pasta machine, then cook in a large pan of boiling water in a whole piece for 1-2 minutes, refresh and drain. Cut out 12 rectangles
13 For the béchamel sauce, warm the milk in a pan on a low heat for 15-20 minutes, infusing the milk with the chopped onion, bay leaf and peppercorns
14 Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour. Bring together and cook over a moderate heat for 2 minutes mixing continuously
15 Slowly add the warm infused milk and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes, stirring constantly. To finish add the cheese and seasoning
16 To assemble the cannelloni, reserve 12 of the best slices of cep and set aside. Sauté the remaining cep in a pan with a little butter and olive oil until softened. Add the chopped lobster (keep back the sliced meat) to the sautéed cep and add enough béchamel to bind. Season
17 Lay out the rectangles of pasta and place a spoonful of the cep and lobster mixture on each, and carefully roll up into nice neat tubes. Place 3 cannelloni’s together on silicone paper ready for steaming – repeat with the remaining portions
18 Slice the pork belly into 4 long rectangles, then heat a little vegetable oil in a non-stick pan and colour the skin side of each piece of belly. Transfer to the oven and roast at 190˚C/Gas mark 5 for 4-6 minutes until hot in the centre
19 Steam the pieces of cannelloni for 2-3 minutes and carefully arrange on 4 warmed plates with the pork belly. Sauté the reserved ceps and lobster pieces in a little butter, arranging around the side of the plate

Recipe courtesy of Richard Thompson for Great British Chefs. Click here to find out more.

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