Tuesday, 25 August 2015

A Feast with Friends featuring Asda's Sweet BBQ Crispy Pork Belly and a recipe for homemade sweet potato fries.

I know some people think pork belly is just a crusty-topped lump of fat but let me tell you, when it's prepared and cooked properly it is one of the most tasty and succulent cuts of meat you can buy.

Usually I buy plain pork belly but this week I was given the opportunity to try Asda's Butcher's Choice Sweet BBQ crispy pork belly which the packaging revealed comes with an intriguing toffee crunch topping to add right at the end of the cooking time.


The box states that the shrink-wrapped pork belly within would serve four so rather than split it between my enormous family I decided it was a great excuse to invite a couple of friends round for a casual chatty supper. The kids were duly served pizza in front of the TV (much to their delight) while we took over the kitchen table.


I loved that the pork belly was so easy to cook - instructions were simple and clear so all I had to do was open the shrink-wrap, tip the meat onto a foil-lined tray and bung it in the oven. As an aside it is one of Asda's products with a long use-by date - ten days plus! -which is useful if like me you like to plan meals well ahead.


But what to serve with it?  Well in the past I have served pork belly on buns with homemade BBQ sauce, with creamy mash  and roast veg with green beans and a drizzly jus, alongside couscous, green salad and potato salad as part of a BBQ (pork belly is awesome barbecued!) and with potato wedges and corn on the cob - the children's favourite.

On this occasion I wanted to focus my attention on my friends and so had planned a really easy-to-prep menu. I am currently slightly obsessed with sweet potato and decided home-made sweet potato fries would complement the flavours of the pork belly beautifully.


To make sweet potato fries for 4 you need:

I TBSP Oil (I like olive oil but any type will work)
4 large or 6/6 small sweet potatoes.
I TBSP paprika
1TBSP garlic or garlic & salt granules (optional)

In the bottom of a medium sized bowl add oil, paprika and garlic salt. Mix together.

Peel sweet potatoes then using a sharp knife create chip-style batons.
 I have found that a size between skinny fries and chunky fries works best - skinny ones dry out quickly and chunky ones don't crisp up enough.

Throw "fries" into paprika oil mix and toss until well coated.

Turn onto baking tray and cook at around 160 degrees (fan oven) for around 30-45 mins turning occasionally.

The pork belly takes 45 minutes to cook so I bunged my fries in at the same time then sat with my friends enjoying home-made mackerel pate with homemade bread (pate recipe to follow on another post) whilst catching up on all the gossip.

Two minutes before the end of the cooking time I cut open the toffee crunch topping and sprinkled it on top of the pork belly joint - ooh just watching it melt into the already crunchy top made my mouth water!


When the meat was finished the topping looked amazing -like creme brûlée only with meat!

I served the meat in chunky slices along with my sweet potato fries and a generous dollop of creamy Asda "Chosen By You" coleslaw which, although a bargain at £1 for 700g, was as tasty as most supermarket's luxury version of the product.

Now people. I'm going to confess that when I first opened the box containing the Butcher's Choice Sweet BBQ CrispyPork Belly in its little bag I did have a moment of horror as it did not look big enough to serve four adults!

Even as it was cooking I was apologising in advance to my guests and was very thankful I had planned three courses.

However while the meat was extremely tasty and tender it was also very sweet and rich so to be honest, with the exception of my husband who eats like a big fat pig has an extremely good appetite, we all said we wouldn't have been able to eat much more even if the pork belly joint was bigger.

It worked very well with the crunchy coleslaw and the sweet potato fries and my friend Ruth said she would also love to try it served in a more formal way on top of mashed potato with some crunchy green vegetables.

By the time we ended the meal with Forest Fruits strudel and custard we were holding our stomachs and groaning so no worries about my guests calling at the drive-thru burger bar on the way home!

My husband loved the pork belly and said at £3.60 a pack it was cheap enough to have served between two - then asked how soon I could get to Asda to buy some for us for an at-home dinner-date night. More pizza and TV kids?

If you are worried about the portion size for 4 you can get a multi-buy deal (2 for £6) on lots of products, including many from the BBQ range. On the pork belly for instance as I said it costs £3.60 for one box of pork belly or you can have two for £6.

Or you could have one pork belly and one pulled pork pack, or a pack of buffalo chicken wings and some Chinese style pulled pork.... the list is long and comprehensive! Good news as the Bank Holiday approaches -  plenty of choices ideal for family meals, barbecues or just to scoff as snacks on family movie night!

Disclaimer:I was sent one box of Asda Butcher's Choice Sweet BBQ Pork Belly and a £10 Asda voucher to create a meal based around the pork belly. Views and opinions remain honest and my own.



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