Pork belly and galette: Yotam Ottolenghi’s apple recipes (2024)

A few weeks ago, I went to my local greengrocer to buy apples to dip in honey for Jewish New Year, and ended up with a selection box from the National Fruit Collection in Brogdale, Kent.

It turned out to be a deliciously sweet dip, and also a lucky dip, because I had no idea which of the 2,000-plus types of Brogdale apples I was eating – the kaleidoscope of flavours was staggering. Sadly, our shops sell only a tiny fraction of these varieties, but that’s no reason not to try to seek them out.

Today’s recipes specify so-called ‘standard’ apples, but they’d all work with any type that is equally crisp, sweet and cheerful.

Roast pork belly with apple, soy and ginger

The flavours in this dish are inspired by Filipino pork adobo, in which the meat is cooked in a sweet and vinegary, soy-based sauce. Here, I use apple juice, apple vinegar and whole apples to cut through that richness. Don’t be put off by the long cooking time – once everything’s in the oven, it’s mostly just a waiting game. Serve with plain rice.

Pork belly and galette: Yotam Ottolenghi’s apple recipes (1)

Prep 15 min
Cook 2 hr 30 min
Serves 4

1 whole pork belly joint (800-900g), boneless
Flaked sea salt
1½ tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
12 garlic cloves, peeled
40g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 whole star anise
3 bay leaves
90ml soy sauce
250ml chicken stock
250ml unsweetened apple juice (I use a cloudy variety)
70ml apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
3 medium Pink Lady apples (400g), cored and cut into quarters
2 spring onions, thinly sliced

Heat the oven to 185C (165C fan)/365F/gas 4½. Use a small, sharp knife to score the skin of the pork in a cross-hatch pattern spaced roughly 1½cm apart, then rub a teaspoon of flaked salt into the skin, push it down into the slashes.

Put the oil in a large ovenproof saute pan on a medium-high heat, then fry the onion, stirring, for three minutes, just to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, star anise and bay leaves, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly coloured – another three minutes. Add the soy, stock, apple juice, vinegar, sugar and black peppercorns, and bring to a simmer.

Take off the heat and lay in the pork, skin side up, taking care not to get the skin wet (it should not at any stage be submerged in liquid). Transfer to the oven, roast for 90 minutes, then remove and arrange the apples around the pork, stirring gently to coat them in the sauce and again taking care not to get any liquid on the skin. Return to the oven for 30 minutes, or until the apples have softened but still retain their shape, and the pork is deeply golden.

Gently lift the pork on to a board, leave to rest for 10-15 minutes, then cut into 1½cm-thick slices. To serve, transfer the contents of the saute pan to a serving dish with a lip, lay the pork slices on top and sprinkle with the spring onions.

Spiced apple butter

Besides its use in today’s apple galette (see next recipe), this butter is delicious spread on hot toast or stirred into porridge or yoghurt. Alternatively, decant it into sterilised jars, because it makes a great little homemade gift for family and friends. It will keep in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for up to a month.

Prep 5 min
Cook 3 hr
Makes 1.2kg, to serve 12

1kg Bramley apples (ie, about 6 medium apples)
1 kg Cox’s apples (ie, about 6 medium apples)
700ml unsweetened apple juice (I use a cloudy variety)
65ml good-quality apple cider vinegar
300g golden (or normal) caster sugar
1 whole vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out
2 cinnamon sticks
2 fresh bay leaves
1 lemon – zest pared off in 4 strips, and juiced, to get 2 tbsp
⅛ tsp salt

Cut all the apples into quarters, leaving the skins and cores intact, and put in a large stockpot for which you have a lid. Add the apple juice and vinegar, cover and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium, and leave to cook, lid on, and stirring once or twice, for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are completely soft and falling apart.

Turn off the heat, remove the lid and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large saute pan, tip in the fruit and pass it through the sieve, pushing down with the back of a large spoon to extract as much puree as possible. You should end up with about 1.6kg; discard the solids left in the sieve. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan, stir to combine, then place on a medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for two hours, stirring regularly to prevent the mix scorching on the bottom, or until thickened and reduced by about half. Remove and discard the vanilla pod, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and strips of lemon zest, and leave to cool completely before using (or pour into sterilised jars and seal).

Apple butter galette

Pork belly and galette: Yotam Ottolenghi’s apple recipes (3)

This galette came about mostly as an excuse to make the apple butter in the first recipe, though, to be honest, you don’t really need one to do that. To save time, by all means use bought-in apple sauce instead, though perhaps stir some cinnamon through it first. If you want to get ahead, make the dough up to three days in advance and keep it well wrapped in the fridge (or make it even further ahead and freeze for up to a month). Serve with a caramel sauce, as in the photograph, for extra decadence.

Prep 10 min, plus rest
Cook 2 hr
Serves 6

For the dough
250g plain flour
1½ tsp caster sugar
¾ tsp salt
200g fridge-cold unsalted butter, cut into 1½ cm cubes
75ml ice-cold water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

For the filling
185g spiced apple butter (see today’s recipe) or bought-in apple sauce (see recipe introduction)
600g granny smith apples (ie, about 4 medium apples), cored but skin-on
1 tbsp lemon juice
50g unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp apricot jam
1½ tbsp calvados (or brandy, or water)
Creme fraiche, to serve

First make the dough. Put the flour, sugar and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter cubes, but without mixing them in, then freeze the bowl and its contents for 30 minutes.

Tip the chilled mixture into a food processor and pulse a few times, until the cold butter breaks down to the size of peas. Add the water and vinegar, and pulse a few times more, just until the dough starts to come together. Transfer to a clean work surface and use your hands to bring it together into a cohesive dough, working quickly so it keeps nice and cold (that’s the secret to ensuring a light, flaky galette pastry). Shape into a rough round, wrap tightly to make it airtight, then refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

Heat the oven to 210C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Put the dough on a well-floured surface and roll it out into a 35cm-diameter circle. Carefully lift this on to a lined baking tray and fold about 1½cm of the pastry’s edge over on itself all the way round. Repeat, so it now has a double folded rim. Crimp decoratively all around the edge, if you wish, then spread the spiced apple butter (or apple sauce) evenly over the base, avoiding the rim. Refrigerate the dough while you make the filling.

Using a mandoline or sharp knife, finely slice the apples into 2mm-thick rounds. Put in a bowl with the lemon juice and toss to coat. Arrange the slices on top of the galette base in concentric circles, overlapping them slightly, until the base is completely covered. Brush the apples with the melted butter, then sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the tray around and turn down the heat to 190C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until golden and the apples are catching a little at the edges. Transfer to a rack and leave to cool slightly.

Put the jam and calvados in a small saucepan and heat gently to warm through, whisking to combine. Brush this mixture evenly over the apples, then slide the galette on to a serving plate or board. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the creme fraiche alongside and some caramel sauce, if you like.

Pork belly and galette: Yotam Ottolenghi’s apple recipes (2024)
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