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Slow roasted pork belly on a bed of puy lentils

This was a huge hit with the family, a relatively cheap cut of meat, providing a delicious Sunday roast (when crackling appears on the dining table it is met with whoops of delight and then a vanishing of voices as crunching and cracking takes over) and plenty of leftovers to do what you wish with.  I have suggested using puy lentils as they keep their shape better, but green or red lentils will taste just as good and be more economical.  
  • 1 onion, chopped small
  • 2-3 cups seasonal vegetables (carrots, parsnips, swede, kohlrabi etc) chopped small
  • 1-2 cups puy lentils, washed and drained
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • fresh thyme or rosemary, depending on what you have in your garden/ window pots
  • 1-2 pints vegetable stock
  • 1 large pork belly
  • seasoning
  1. Gently fry the onion in some olive oil until golden brown, then add the chopped vegetables. Gently fry for about 5-10 minutes, taking care they don't burn.
  2. Add the lentils and garlic and stir to mix.
  3. Transfer to a shallow oven dish and cover with vegetable stock, retaining any left over stock.  Lay the pork belly on top and cover.
  4. Transfer to a medium oven (150C) and allow to roast slowly for a couple of hours. Check every so often and add more stock as needed so the lentils do not dry out.  
  5. An hour before serving, remove the cover, cover the fat of the pork belly with table salt. Turn the temperature up and roast uncovered for about 30 minutes, again ensuring that it does not dry out. 
  6. Finally ,remove the pork and grill to crisper the crackling. 
  7. Serve with the lentils and vegetable mixture for a complete meal, and treat yourself to some roasted potatoes if you are feeling up for it.