Win with Alto Wines & Make this Crispy Pork Belly with Vermouth-Soused Prunes

Words: Crush

Crispy Pork Belly

To honour Alto’s 100th year of winemaking, chef Jacques Erasmus, of Hemelhuijs restaurant, has created a series of five delicious recipes, each paired with an Alto wine. You’ve mastered this Beef Carpaccio dish, now take your culinary game to the next level with this crispy pork belly. The addition of vermouth-soused prunes (caramelised in brown sugar syrup) gives this dish a local twist.

Serve a Dish of Distinction with Alto Wines

This recipe for Pork Belly with Turnip Purée and Vermouth-Soused Prunes is the second in the recipes series. The pork has a richness to it quite unlike any other cut of meat and the sweetness of the prunes is a perfect balance.

Chef Jaques Erasmus, “For me, this is an autumn/winter dish that is perfect for cooler days. The balance of crispy pork belly with buttery smooth turnip purée and sweet prunes makes for a beautifully balanced dish.”

Serve this dish with Alto Rouge, possibly one of the most iconic and revered red blends in South African winemaking history. “The dish is a classic combination of flavours and therefore a classic wine is perfect with this dish,” says chef Jaques of the pairing.

Entertain with Ease

The great thing about this dish is that everything can be prepared in advance and plating can be done relatively quickly before serving. Great if you’re entertaining and want to spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen.

Get to know Alto Rouge

Alto Rouge is possibly the best-known wine in the Alto stable. It holds that title not only because it was the first wine produced by the farm but also because it has always been a great wine of exceptional value. It holds a special place for the team at the farm.

“Every vintage of the Alto Rouge reflects what took place during harvest in the Helderberg in a particular year,” says Bertho van der Westhuizen, the 5th winemaker at Alto. “The wine is essentially a blend of all varieties we produce at Alto, so while we try to keep the style consistent year to year, slight variations are characteristics of that harvest.”

The 2016 wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc (28%) Shiraz (23%) Merlot (22%) Cabernet Sauvignon (21%) and Petit Verdot (6%).

It has lead pencil shavings, crushed red fruit and a hint of chocolate on the nose.  Elegant red fruit flavours on the palate are backed-up by soft, elegant tannins.

Did you know, Alto Rouge was first shipped to London in 1922, making it the oldest commercial wine from South Africa.

Crispy Pork Belly with Turnip Purée and Vermouth-Soused Prunes

Serves: 6
Difficulty: moderate
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 90 minutes

Crispy Pork Belly
1,2 kg pork belly
a splash of white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp (30 ml) sea salt flakes
2 tsp (10 ml) freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp (20 ml) ground fennel seeds

Turnip Purée
400 g turnips, peeled and roughly chopped (turnips can be replaced with the same amount of celeriac or cauliflower)
1 medium potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and roughly chopped
1 C (250 ml) milk
150 g butter

Vermouth Prunes
18 prunes
50 g brown sugar
½ C (125 ml) dry vermouth

To Serve
3 celery sticks, shaved

Crispy Pork Belly
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Score the skin of the pork belly with a sharp knife and rub generously with white wine vinegar. Sprinkle the scored skin with salt and then rub the meat side of the belly with salt, pepper and ground fennel.

Place on a roasting tray and cook, uncovered, in the oven at 220 ºC for 20 minutes to crisp the crackling. Then reduce the oven temperature to
160 ºC and continue to cook until golden and tender. This should take around 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Turnip Purée
Place the turnips, potato and apple in a saucepan over medium heat and add the milk. Add a little water to just cover and cook, uncovered, until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.

Strain off the liquid but reserve it and set aside to add later if needed. Blend the vegetables using a stick blender until smooth; add the butter as you go to make a rich, thick purée. Use a little of the reserved boiling liquid to help blend the purée; add a little at a time and adjust to get the right consistency.

Vermouth Prunes
Place the prunes in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil until soft, roughly 5 minutes. Drain enough water off to just leave the base of the saucepan covered and then add the sugar and vermouth. Cook for another 5-6 minutes over high heat until glazed and syrupy.

Serve slices of pork belly with the turnip purée and spoon over the prunes. Garnish with freshly shaved celery.

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Competition - Enter to win

Celebrate Alto’s 100th year of winemaking history and enter to win prizes valued at a total of R24 000!

Grand prize: Win an exclusive culinary experience at Hemelhuijs restaurant in Cape Town for you and nine of your favourite dinner party guests. Enjoy a stunning gourmet meal prepared by chef Jacques Erasmus, paired with a selection of Alto wines, valued at R10 000!

Four Additional Prizes: stand in line to win 1 of 4 special Alto 100-year celebratory wooden cases containing 5 wines (Rouge, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Blend and MPHS) valued at R3 000 each.

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