Pomegranate Toffee Glazed Pork by Amanda Higgins

This recipe is the best thing you could ever do with pork. It's a complete treat that's destined to be a family favourite. Coconut sugar is used for the glazing and pomegranate to give it that extra special taste. Serve it as a canap' snack or with vegetables. I like it with warm roasted cauliflower; roasted fennel and baby spinach salad drizzled with olive oil and pomegranate seeds. The slightly tart sourness of the pomegranate juice cuts through the fattiness of the pork beautifully and the caramel stickiness gives the crackling a decadent texture. Even better, its also gluten free.

  1. Combine the five spice, fennel, one teaspoon of salt and cloves in a grinder and crush to a powder. Rub this into the underside of the pork and leave to marinade for about 3 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  3. Lay the pork fat side down in a baking tray and cover the tray with tin foil. Laying a non-stick mat on the bottom of the tray stops the pork from sticking and burning the bottom of the pan
  4. Cook the pork slowly for 2 hours. Remove it from the oven and flip it over so that the fat is facing upwards. Rub the 2 tablespoons of salt into the fat making sure it's thoroughly covered.
  5. Raise the oven temperature to 220 degrees Celsius and pop the pork back in. You're aiming for a lovely crispy fat crackling. Depending on your oven this could take anywhere between 30 - 45 minutes. Keep an eye on it. To test, pull it out and tap on the pork fat when you think it is nearly ready. It should sound nice and hollow. Be careful not to burn it or your fingers.
  6. When it is ready remove it from the oven and let it stand for 20 minutes before cutting into smaller portions. For this recipe I cut the pork into small cubes about 4x4cm.
  7. While the pork is cooking use this time to make the caramel.
  8. Simmer the pomegranate juice until it has reduced by half and has a slight syrupy consistency. This will intensify the pomegranate flavour.
  9. Pour the cup of coconut sugar into a small saucepan together with the lemon juice and water; bring to a boil. Give the mixture a very good stir while it is heating up to make sure you dissolve all the sugar.
  10. Coconut sugar has a very different texture to normal sugar. It becomes dark in colour and has a strong molasses smell. Coconut sugar reaches a high temperature much quicker then normal sugar, so whatever you do don't walk away and forget it on the stove.
  11. If you have a sugar thermometer allow the mixture to reach about 130'C. With no thermometer it is a little tricky, but not impossible. It will bubble and be very dark, but it does become quite thick in consistency. This will be your best indicator of the sugar reaching the right temperature. Don't panic. It will smell like it is burning, rest assured all is well.
  12. Remove it from the heat and carefully add the pomegranate juice. Be aware that it will bubble and splatter. Stir it to combine. This is a very forgiving caramel as it can be reheated many times. If you feel the caramel is too runny after adding the juice simply simmer it a little longer until it is a little thicker. It will also thicken on standing.
  13. Arrange the chopped pork on a serving dish and drizzle the caramel over the top.
Amanda Higgins is a Cape Town based, UK trained chef, photographer and food developer. As a creative and dynamic chef diagnosed with a gluten allergy, she became passionate about creating real authentic food as close to the real deal as possible for the gluten intolerant. Creator and author of the website and blog www.amandainthekitchen.com.

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