This month being heritage month, I started thinking about all the wonderful South African bits and pieces I missed when I lived in the USA. We use to get little care packages sent to us, from back home, filled with South African goodies, we were also very lucky to have a store close by which sold a little piece of home – Ouma Rusks, Milo, Rooibos Tea and Marmite, then we found an online SA store in California where we could buy Savanna, we were in heaven! I would introduce my American friends to the little bits of South Africa, which brought me to this recipe.
I have played around with a similar idea before but thinking what is really South African? Rooibos, Dried Apricots and Brandy…how much more South African do you get than that?
Pork Belly, stuffed with apricots in a brandy & rooibos syrup
1.6kg pork belly, deboned, ask your butcher to score the skin for you to make life easier at home
1 tbsp Caraway seeds, roasted and roughly ground
Coarse salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 Rooibos tea bag
1 cup of boiling water
For the Syrup
100g brown sugar
2 rooibos tea bags
1 cup Klipdrift brandy
125g dried apricots
1 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
Soak the dried apricots in the brandy for half an hour
Place all the syrup ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, let simmer for 5 minutes and turn off, set aside to cool
Roughly chop the cooled apricots
Simmer the remaining syrup until reduced by half
Preheat your oven to 150°C
With the pork belly skin down, season the flesh with salt & pepper, brush a little of the syrup over the flesh and place chopped apricots down the middle.
Roll pork belly and tie with butchers twine, you want a tightly rolled pork belly.
Rub the scored skin with salt, pepper and the caraway seeds
In a roasting tray, place two small bowls upside down and place pork belly on top. Fill the bottom with a cup of rooibos tea and a little water until the water level is just under the flesh.
Place in oven for 3 and a half hours. Remove from oven, pour all the juices into the same pot the syrup is in. Cook together, thicken with cornflour for gravy.
Place the roast back into a preheated oven at 180°C, and cook for 25 minutes.
Put your oven on full grill and cook for 15 minutes to get a nice crispy crackling
Serve with mashed potatoes which ever way you like and some vegetables of your choice and you have a lovely easy meal