I wasn’t sure if this experiment would work – for one thing the amount of lard required is scary and I hadn’t yet come around to the cooking in cola trend. But in the end, I’m glad I decided to take the time to make these. I used to like Mexican food but so much of what you can get here in the UK depends on cheese to add taste and mouth appeal and is often pretty flavourless without it. So the fact this is meant to be eaten without cheese won out over my lard based concerns. And it turned out amazing – sharp, flavourful and really not very fatty at all as most of the fat is left behind in the casserole.
This recipe came from The Observer magazine.
500g of lard
2 bay leaves
2 oranges, sliced
Thyme, a few springs
Cut the pork belly into chunks and rub the salt into them. Leave to sit for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 130 C. Put the rest of the ingredients into a large dish – I used a casserole but a deep baking tray with tin foil over the top will also work. Put the pork into the liquid and bring it to simmering point. Then cover and put in the oven for 2-3 hours, until the meat can be pulled apart with a spoon.
Lift the meat out of the liquid, turn the oven temperature up to 190 C and shred the meat with a spoon and a fork. Put the shredded meat in a shallow tray and cook at the higher temperature until crispy – about 25 minutes for my oven. I actually waited a couple of hours between these stages and I’m sure you could cool the meat after the first stage and crisp it up the next day, if you were cooking for company and worried about the timing.
I served it in heated flour tortillas with chopped shallots, sliced red and yellow pepper, some lime juice and salsa. If I liked coriander, I’d’ve added some at the end.