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Lechon Pork Belly Roll

Here's my take on the Crispy Crackling Pork with Herb Rice Stuffing by Marion Grasby. We Pinoys call it Lechon (Roasted Pork Belly).

To be honest, I feel intimidated to cook Lechon when everybody else was doing it and even making a business out of it. True story. Some have turned their love for cooking Lechon into a business while I'm scared that I wouldn't be able to give justice to this special-occasion-show-stopper-dish so I never tried cooking it. I just enjoyed eating it when friends brought it to potlucks. Not until the husband asked me if I can cook it for our 2019 Christmas dinner.

Determined to please the family, I searched for the best roast pork recipe online. I found Marion Grasby's Crispy Crackling Pork with Herb Rice Stuffing on Facebook. It looked beautiful and festive. I thought it is the perfect recipe for me. So I followed her instructions and the result is wonderful

presenting...

Lechon Pork Belly
Click on the photo to enlarge

My very first Lechon (roast pork belly). Can you tell, I am super proud of my work?!

Look at how beautiful it is inside and out

Lechon Pork Belly

The cracking does not look like it is crunchy but it was. I sliced it a tad thicker than I should so when I made another one for New Year, I sliced it thinner. The skin was crunchier and stayed crunchy even after it cooled down.

Lechon Pork Belly

It was the centerpiece of our festive season both Media Noche and Noche Buena.

For the recipe, you can either click here or continue below for the exact recipe and procedure.

I didn't make the same sauce Marion made because all Filipino knows that Lechon is best dipped in Mang Thomas, homemade lechon sauce or vinegarette (a mixture of white vinegar, soy sauce, chopped onions garlic and chili, pepper, salt, and a little sugar)

INGREDIENTS
2kg (4.4 lb) piece skin-on pork belly
sea salt

Herb Rice Stuffing:
½ cup jasmine rice
150ml (5 fl oz) chicken stock
1 star anise
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ onion, finely diced
50g (1.7 oz) bacon or pancetta, finely chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup finely chopped coriander (cilantro)
¼ cup finely chopped spring onion (scallions)
zest of 1 lemon
1 egg

INSTRUCTION:

-To make the herb rice stuffing, place the rice, stock, and star anise in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes or until stock is absorbed and rice is tender. Discard star anise, then transfer the cooked rice to a large bowl.

-Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and bacon and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft. Transfer to the bowl with the rice and add the soy sauce. Mix to combine and then place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes or until completely cool. Then mix through the coriander, spring onion, and lemon zest.

-Pat the pork belly dry with paper towel. Slice off about a 3cm thick piece of pork belly to use to stuff the larger piece. Remove the skin from the small piece. Then use a ruler and a sharp knife to score the pork rind at 1cm intervals.

-Generously season the pork rind with salt, being sure to rub the salt into the score marks. Flip the large piece of pork over so it is skin side down. Spread with the cooled herb rice stuffing. Place the small skinless piece of pork belly in the center. Roll the larger piece of pork belly over the filling. Tie with kitchen string at 4cm intervals. Place the pork on a large roasting tray and keep in the fridge, uncovered, overnight to dry out the skin.

-Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F.

-Use paper towels to pat the pork skin dry. Roast the pork for 20 minutes or until the crackling starts to form (rotate the roasting tray after 10 minutes to help the crackling crisp up evenly). Reduce the heat to 170°C/338°F. Roast for a further 1 ½ hours.

-Rest the pork for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

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Cheers
Carla