This combination of roasting and then braising the pork results in meltingly tender meat with gorgeous crispy crackling – heaven on a plate! The milk-braised potatoes are tender little morsels infused with the herbaceous aromatics.
1.5 kilogram piece boneless pork belly, skin on
½ teaspoon each ground fennel and cumin
2 carrots, sliced thickly
2 onions, sliced thickly
12 small waxy potatoes, halved if large
4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
3 bay leaves
small handful of fresh sage leaves
4–6 cups milk
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to its highest temperature.
Pat the pork dry with paper towels and sprinkle the flesh side with the combined fennel and cumin. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the carrots, onions and potatoes in the base of a roasting dish and add water to a depth of ½ cm. Season.
Place the pork, skin side up over the vegetables. Rub the skin with a little oil then season with salt only.
Roast for 30 minutes until the skin is bubbled and golden, turning the tray for even cooking and watching that it doesn’t catch and burn.
Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C.
Tuck the garlic, bay and sage leaves under and around the pork. Pour in enough milk to come halfway up the side of the pork but not up to the skin. Season lightly. Take care not to pour the milk over the crispy skin.
Braise for 1½ hours or until the pork is very tender when pierced with a skewer. If the skin needs more crisping, turn the oven to grill and cook for a couple of minutes but watch like a hawk as it can quickly catch and burn.
To serve: Remove the pork and the potatoes from the roasting dish. Slice the pork thickly and place the potatoes in a serving bowl. I served roasted Brussels sprouts tossed with a little lemon juice, thyme and butter alongside too.