Fennel Roasted Pork Belly with Fall Vegetables

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one," are famous song lyrics written by John Lennon. I dream a lot-figuratively and literally. And a lot of the time I dream of food. Seriously, I start dreaming up different combinations and tastes in my head and quickly attempt to write them down before I forget.

 For the longest time, I have wanted to make this dish. This just screams fall. The veggies are all seasonal and the pork is crispy, succulent and laced with fennel and red pepper. I know pork tastes good throughout all of the seasons, but for me it just reminds me of the warmth and comfort of autumn.

For the Pork Belly:
2 1/2 pounds boneless pork belly, skin on and scored (your butcher can do this for you)
1 tbs. sea salt
1 tbs. fennel seeds
1/4-1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper
4 celery stalks, cut into chunks
2 onions, cut into wedges

For the Vegetables:
28 oz. baby mixed colored potatoes, cut in half
4 carrots, cut into chunks
1 cup fennel, cut into chunks
1 large apple, cut into chunks
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
drizzle of olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Make sure your pork belly is at room temperature. Pat the pork dry with a paper towel. Rub the pork belly on all sides with the sea salt, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper and black pepper.
  3. Place the celery and onions in a roasting pan and make a bed out of it. Place the pork belly on top (skin side up) of the compact celery and onions.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes and then take the pork out of the oven in order to add all of the other vegetables along with salt, black pepper, red pepper and olive oil to the pan with the pork. Place the pork back in the oven and roast for 30 more minutes. At this point (according to your oven) you might notice the skin getting burnt if so lower the heat a little; however, if the skin looks like it needs to further brown turn up the heat to 400-430 degrees. Cook for about 20 more minutes or until the skin is browned and crispy but the inside is cooked and moist. Let the pork sit for about 10-15 minutes before cutting. 

Fennel Roasted Pork Belly with Fall Vegetables served with tomato and mozzarella salad and a salad with mache lettuce, radishes, hot pepper and goat cheese. 

Happy Eatings!

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