Make sure that the butcher removed the ribs and cut the skin (or the rind) with deep cuts that go to the fat. In Asturias they serve pork with mashed apples or whole roasted apples.
For 6-8 people
pork with skin ½ a breast (about 2kg), scored
olive oil 2 tablespoons
Golden Delicious apples 8
dry cider 250ml
For the chestnut puree (optional)
chestnuts 500g, fresh peeled, frozen and thawed or vacuum packed
whole milk approximately 300ml, or more (enough to cover the chestnuts)
Put the pork belly in a roasting pan brushed with 1 tablespoon of oil or, better again, place it on a rack in the pan. Sprinkle generously with salt, rubbing it into the cuts in the skin. Then wipe off the excess salt and rub the skin and flesh side with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Turn the pork belly, skin side up.
Place the pan in a preheated oven at 200C fan-assisted / thermostat 7 for 30 minutes until until the pork skin begins to swell, then reduce the heat to 170C fan / gas 5 and cook for about 1¾ hours to 2 hours, until the crackers are crisp and golden. Cover with foiland let the meat rest for 15 minutes before cutting it into thick slices.
Meanwhile, put the apples in a baking dish or baking dish. keeps warm. Pour in the cider and put the dish in the oven under the roast, after lowering the heat. Take out the apples when they are tender when you prick them with a knife. Watch them after about 40 minutes of cooking so that they do not fall apart t. Return them to the oven at the end to warm them up.
For the optional chestnut puree, boil the chestnuts over low heat in enough milk to cover them, in a saucepan with the lid on until tender. Drain them, reserving the milk and add the salt and butter. Mash the chestnuts with a mash press or, for a smoother mash, pass them in a food processor, adding as much of the reserved milk as needed to have a consoft resistance.
Food from Spain by Claudia Roden (Penguin Books Ltd, £ 35). To support the Guardian and Observer, order your copy at guardianbookshop.com . Delivery charges may apply.