Aromatic pork belly hot pot...

I know it's not the best of summer dishes (as it really is autumn/winter one!) but with the weather we have here in Ireland it's perfect! It's only about 15 C, very windy and it rains, rains, rains, rains... well you can imagine... typical Irish summer ;) nothing we're not used to here.
I was feeling very under the weather and quite cold as well. It's really wierd when you have to turn on the heating in your house for the night, in the middle of July! But I always believe that if you can't warm up all you need is a good, comfort food, and better yet - a full bowl of it!
Hubby took out a nice piece of pork belly from the freezer and said - 'Do something with it' - and I did :) oh yes I did! I was skeptical about leaving the rind on, I was afraid it will be slimy etc. but no, it turned out great - very soft and velvety, dissolving in your mouth... yum!

This dish turned out to be very easy to prepare and not time consuming at all - well, besides the fact that you have to leave it to simmer for minimum 2 hours, after you do all the necessary work.
If you happen to have a proper summer weather right now at yours, make sure to save this recipe for cold winter evenings! Recipe taken from a great book 'The River Cottage - Meat'.

How to make it...
- 1.5 kg pork belly, deboned with the rind on
- about 1.5 l pork or chicken stock, or water (I used chicken stock)
- 12 spring onions
- 100 ml light soy sauce (I used 70 ml dark soy sauce)
- 75 ml Chinese rice wine (didn't have it...)
- 25 ml rice wine vinegar (I used normal white wine vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons demerara or soft light brown sugar
- 3 star anise
- 10 cm piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
- a good pinch of dried chili flakes

Cut your belly into rectangular chunks, about 2.5 x 5 cm. Put into a large pan, pour over enough boiling water just to cover, bring back to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes (skimming of the scum if necessary). Drain through a colander and return the pork to an empty pan. Pour over enough boiling hot stock (or water) to cover it again. Cut 5 of the spring onions in half and add to the pan, add your ginger, soy sauce, rice wine, vinegar, sugar, star anise and chili flakes. Stir well and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot tightly and simmer slowly for about 2 hours (I simmered mine for 2,5 h). Meat has to be very tender, soft and succulent.
Hugh is reducing the stock until it is lightly syrupy and very aromatic but I didn't do it  - I've treated it more like a soup. Serve over plain noodles in soup bowls, with plenty of the broth ladled over and the sliced spring onions scattered on top of the meat.