This recipe uses a classic mix used in the sauce for roast suckling pig (leitão) made up of crushed garlic, lard and a very generous amount of black pepper. Suckling pig is a speciality of the Bairrada region in the centre of Portugal where the combination of rearing techniques, roasting skills and constant demand makes for one of the hot spots of Portuguese cuisine. The tenderness achieved by slowly roasting pork belly together with the garlic and black pepper seasoning almost achieves the unique leitão taste…
1 Kg pork belly
8 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp lard
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Make the garlic paste by smashing cloves with salt, then adding lard and lots of freshly ground back pepper.
2. Score the skin/fat side and rub generously with sea salt. Spread the garlic paste on the meat side of the belly and place on a rack skin side up.
3. Cook for 1 hour in a hot oven.
4. Move to medium/low oven and cook for 3 hours, checking occasionally.
5. Slice and pour a little of the rendered fat on top. Served here with a black eye bean and fennel salad.