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Chefs Recipe: Saddleback Pork Belly by Hrishikesh Desai Executive Chef at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House

‘Hrishi’ is the re-named Michelin starred restaurant where Hrishikesh Desai’s imaginative dishes combine great Lake District produce and classic methods to deliver modern British dishes with a twist of Asia: unbelievable textures and flavours that satisfy traditionalists while giving experimentalists something new. ‘Gilpin Spice’ is The Gilpin’s more informal restaurant, inspired by the history and the dishes that follow the spice trail along the silk route – from Whitehaven all the way to Japan.

Saddleback Pork Belly


For the belly:

Take the rib and skin off the pork belly. Trim as much possible the muscle to have an even surface. Scour the meat in crisscross fashion but not too deep. Cut the rib bones and the trimmed muscle into small pieces. Place the trimmed muscle and bones in an oven at 180 degree C and caramelise until dark golden for preparing the sauce.

For the spice mix:

  • 10gm  Dark brown sugar
  • 10gm Chinese five spice
  • 5gm Dried Oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Mix the above ingredients apart from the salt and pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle salt and black pepper as per taste over the scoured muscle of the pork belly. Then sprinkle the spice mix over and rub until all the mix is dissolved. Then roll the belly and tie with a butchers string. Allow to marinate for 24 hours.


Once the pork is marinated place in a vacuum pack bag and seal tight. Cook in an immersion water bath or a circulator at 72 degree C for 12 hours. Once cooked allow to cool in an ice bath. To reheat the pork belly place in the water bath or circulator at 52 degree C until your BBQ is ready.

For the sauce:

Take the caramelised bones and muscle trimmings and place in a wide base pan with some oil. Start sweating on a high heat for 2 minutes.

Then add 1/2 peeled and finely chopped carrot, 1 peeled and finely chopped onion, 1 stick finely chopped celery, 1/4th washed and finely chopped leek, 6 coarsely crushed cloves of garlic, 8 black pepper corns, 1 bay leaf, 16sprigs of thyme, 8gms Chinese five spice, 4 sticks of crushed and finely chopped lemon grass, 12gms peeled and finely chopped ginger to the bones and trimmings.

Sweat over a medium high heat until all the vegetables are partly cooked. This will take continuous stirring for at least 5 minutes.

Then deglaze with 250ml of cooking white wine and reduce to a glaze.

Finally add 350gms of beef stock, 125gms water and bring the whole mixture to a boil. Hold the boil for 3 minutes, skim as much as possible then reduce the heat to a rolling simmer. Cover the pan with tin foil or lid and cook the sauce for 45 minutes over a simmer.

Once the time is up then remove the sauce and pass through a fine mesh strainer, do it twice to ensure clarity. If the sauce is to thin then reduce to the desired consistency, skim as much as possible and pass through a strainer one last time. Keep hot.

For the rotisserie:

Skewer the pork belly and place over the rotisserie and cook on a medium high hot charcoals until it is golden brown from all the sides. The fat should drip over the coals to give a flame and smoky aroma. The meat should be very soft to touch.

Allow to rest, then remove the butchers string with the help of the scissors and then carve the meat. Serve with vegetables and very hot pork sauce.

The Restaurant: ‘Hrishi’ Restaurant and Gilpin Spice at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Crook Road, Windermere, Cumbria LA23 3NE – member offer not currently available. Click here for booking details.

Not a member? Why not treat yourself to a year of dining in luxury and enjoy benefits, treats and tantalizing offers in the UK’s best restaurants – all for just £95.00 for 12 months. Find out more here.

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