Just in case you wanted to add a Norwegian twist to Christmas dinner this year, I wanted to add a recipe for ribbe, or roasted pork belly. In modern times (And when I say modern times, I mean after the 1700s. Historian brain kicked in for a minute, haha!) roasted pork belly has become a huge part of tradition for Christmas Eve, and according to the stats I could find in newspapers about half of Norway opts for it as their Christmas meal.
We serve pork belly with rind on, and it’s always the test of the cook to make sure that the rind is crispy! Newspapers, magazines, food sites, you name it, will post all kinds of tips and tricks to make sure that people get that crunchy crisp rind for a successful Christmas dinner.
Some use steaming, others broil at the end. Personally I have a easy straight forward approach that just involves putting the pork belly in the oven and basting regularly throughout the cook time, and I’ve never had problems with achieving that desired crackling!
- 2 kg / 4.4lbs pork belly, with rind.
- 3 teaspoons salt.
- 2 teaspoons pepper.
- 100gr butter / 1 stick of butter.
- With a very sharp knife, score the skin. You want to make sure you get through the rind completely, but do not cut down through the layer of fat as that will often dry out the pork belly. If necessary, cut the ribs to easier cut into serving sizes after it's done. (If you buy at a butcher, you can often ask them to do this for you.)
- Rub the pork belly with the salt and pepper, making sure to get all sides of the piece. Ideally cover it up and let it stand in a fridge for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.
- Add the pork belly to a roasting pan and add the butter in the roasting pan. An important step here is that if there is any sunken part to the pork belly, either place a rolled up piece of foil or a plate under it so fat and water (That you'll add later) won't pool on the top. If it pools on the top the crackling won't be crisp.
- Put pork belly in a preheated oven at 180c/350f. Rule of thumb is one hour per kilo / two pounds, so assuming 2kg/4.4lbs as this recipe stated it will take about 4.5 hours. To get the crackling crisp it's important to baste the pork belly often, about every 30 minutes.
- Let the pork belly rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.
If you give this a try I would love to hear what you think!