Hepburns Confit Pork Belly with Black Pudding Croquettes

Looking for a smart dinner party dish for the festive season? Well, why not try out this cracker that combines the Holy Trinity of pork belly, black pudding and goose fat.

You’ll need to set a bit of time aside for the prep – including pressing the pork belly overnight. But once you have got everything assembled, you can put this all together with no stress at all.

Here we have served the pork with a roast squash puree, roast shallots, rocket leaves and finished with a drizzle of Pomegranate molasses. But you can make this as simple as you like – seasonal vegetables, creamy mash and our gravy would work equally well. The main thing is to take it easy.

Go on, pour yourself a glass while you are at it!


1 kg pork belly, bones removed (we can do that for you)

50g Maldon sea salt

1 garlic bulb, sliced in half

1 bouquet garni made up from thyme, rosemary and bay

1 star anise

500g goose fat

Sunflower oil (to top up)

For the black pudding croquettes

250g black pudding

4 large potatoes

2 tbs chopped parsley

50g plain flour

2 eggs, beaten

100g Panko breadcrumbs

Oil, for deep frying


Begin the day before by seasoning the pork belly joint with the salt and leave it to brine for a couple of hours in the fridge (you can also do this overnight).

Next, preheat you oven to 140°C and put the pork into a casserole with a lid. You can also use a roasting tray and cover with foil – just make sure it is sealed.

In a saucepan, gently heat the goose fat with the whole garlic, bouquet garni and star anise, so that it all melts and infuses. Then pour the fat over the pork to cover. If you need to top up, just add some sunflower oil.

Cover with a lid or foil and place into the oven to gently confit for 3-4 hours, or until the pork is very soft and tender.

Leave to cool and then take the pork out of the fat and place on a plate or board, and put another plate on top. Seal everything with cling film and then put into the fridge, with a weight on top (like another saucepan). The idea here is to press the pork belly overnight.

Next day, begin to prepare your croquettes by warming the oven to 200°C, pierce your potatoes all over and then bake for an hour, or until soft.

Leave to cool and then slice in half and scoop out the cooked potato into a bowl. Whilst the potato is cooking, fry off the black pudding in a pan, breaking up with a wooden spoon to form a crumb.

Again, leave to cool before adding to the bowl with the potato. Add the chopped parsley and mix everything to combine. Then make small balls from the mixture and set to one side.

Take three small bowls and fill each with the plain flour, beaten egg and Panko breadcrumbs. Roll the balls in each one, in that order and coat thoroughly and place back into the fridge until ready.

About an hour before cooking, heat your oven to 180°C and take out the pressed pork belly. Trim up into square portions and place a large, ovenproof pan on the hob. Place the portions skin side down and fry for 5 minutes before placing into the oven and roast off for 25-30 minutes.

Whilst the belly is cooking, heat some oil in a deep fat fryer or saucepan to 180°C and fry off the croquettes in batches before draining on kitchen towel and keeping warm.

Serve as per both our suggestions in the intro. You decide!

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