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Belly of Pork with Morello cherries recipe

Photo: Snoozing piglets

Photo: Snoozing piglets

Over the past few years I’ve bought a number of fruit bushes and trees from the budget supermarket Netto. This can be a bit of a hit and miss affair. The green gooseberry bush turned out to be a succulent red dessert variety and tiny hands clapped with glee. About three years ago I bought a couple of cherry trees – one Morello and one dessert cherry. The later has been grown in a frame in one of the fruit cages. Last year they fruited and we discovered that both specimens were Morello trees.

After the initial disappointment – cherries are so expensive to buy – it turns out that this was a stroke of luck as Morello cherries are almost impossible to find in the shops in the UK. These sour cherries are perfect for making liqueurs and sauces for duck, pork, lamb and any of the fattier cuts of meat. They are great for jam too. In fact if you are going to invest in a few cherry trees make sure that at least one is a Morello (often labelled ‘Sour Cherry’ in the garden centre.

Last week I roasted a small belly of pork joint in Andrew using Danny’s recipe and supplemented plums/cooking apples for 100g of Morello cherries. The result was astonishingly good the sharpness of the cherries cutting through the fattiness of the meat. Plums and apples are great when roasted with belly of pork but Morello cherries are the winners hands down.

If you don’t grow Morello cherries all is not lost. You can buy Morello cherries at Asda. I’ve shopped at Asda and prefer every other supermarket around here but perhaps this is the time to give them another go. Our Morello cherries were so delicious, now I want to try jam, muffins, and (needless to say) gin.

We served this with fresh potatoes, carrots and dwarf French beans from the garden. Clean clear tastes to counteract the richness of the pork. Superb.
Slow roast belly of pork with Morello cherries recipe
Ingredients:

• 500g of belly of pork (get your butcher to score the rind and loosen the tips of the bones) or a supermarket boned joint will work too but bone-in is a bit tastier.
• 100 g of Morello Cherries
• Freshly ground white pepper for the sauce
• A decent sprinkle of salt to rub in the crackling
Method:
1. Set the oven to 160c (140c fan)
2. Tear off a length of aluminium foil to house the cherries and the joint (about 10cm larger than the joint) Pull up the sides to form a nest and arrange the cherries in the foil
3. Place the joint on top of the cherries and rub a sprinkling of salt into the crackling. Form the foil into a snug nest around the joint, leaving the crackling exposed and ensuring that the fat from the crackling will drip into the foil nest. Roast for 3 hours and then turn down to 150c (130c fan) for another hour (4 hours!)
4. Remove the pork to a warm place to rest (cover it with foil and a thick towel to keep the heat in)
5. We ate this with the cherries intact but you could make a sauce. Remove the cherry stones and drain off the liquid to a Jack Sprat separator (or a small cold bowl). Allow the sauce to settle for a few minutes and pour off the fat. Add the cherry/pork juice to the cherries and liquidise with a hand blender. Transfer to a saucepan and tbsp of dry white wine. Heat gently for a few minutes to let the flavours blend. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground white pepper
6. When you want to carve the joint, turn it over and the bones should pull away easily making the join easier to carve.


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5 Comments

  1. dan's mummy

    hello all Morello cherry lovers- I have been buying them frozen at Makro for a few months now-lovely for jam or a very nice sauce to go with duck ( I think it was Delias recipe) ! Yum

  2. I’ve had a dwarf morello cherry for years – it was given to me as a present when we moved to Cornwall from London – but it has never performed very well. It seemed to set a lot of fruit this year and I had high hopes but the fruit stopped growing during a long spell of hot dry weather and then split after the last few weeks of rain. I’ve left the sad results for the blackbirds to eat.

  3. thanks for the tip about asda selling morello’s i have for the last couple of years wanted to start a cherry brandy for xmas and not been able to source the cherries. I now have a demi john 3/4 full of cherries sugar and couple of bottles of 5 yrs old brandy silently stewing in time for xmas my mum is going to have a very ‘merry’ one this year thanks fiona x

  4. veronica

    Morello cherries certainly are a huge treat compared to common or garden sweet cherries — you did well to get 2 trees of these 🙂 They make fabulous jam and compote, which we have been overdosing on this year!

  5. Kooky Girl

    This sounds lovely ! I made something simlar with cherries and duck. I am a regular Asda shopper, I would rather go elsewhere, but they are good on the pocket. Lidl is also good for bargain plants. I recently bought two friends an Aloe Vera plant each as I had seen then advertised as a special offer just after talking about them with these girlfriends. I was given mine as a gift so it was nice to carry the tradition on. Here’s to bargain gardening !

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