Try something new as festive season food!

If Christmas lunch or dinner spent at home with the family is your idea of a festive celebration, then why not try something different, by moving away from the traditional and choosing something more modern.

Chef Shaun Dampies says that he prefers to cook something different for the family for Christmas dinner or boxing day which he always finds, is a day of relaxation for most and this recipe, he finds, is easy to prepare, cook and plate for guests!

For his Walnut Crusted Pork Belly, Sautéed Red Spinach, Pea Puree and Bacon dish, Chef Dampies uses the following ingredients:

  • 1 kg pork belly, skin and bone off
  • 1.5L chicken stock
  • 350ml soya sauce
  • 3 pieces star anise
  • 3 pieces stick cinnamon
  • Zest of 2 lemons

He places all the ingredients in an ovenproof dish, covers with foil and bakes in the oven at 120 degrees for 2, 5 hours. When it is done, he then removes the Pork Belly from the liquid and allows it to cool. He then cuts the meat to his desired portion size.

He then roasts 6 pieces of streaky bacon in the oven at 180 degrees for 12 minutes, removes, then cuts it up.

Then for his special Walnut Crust he uses 100g of walnuts and 50g of sugar. He crushes the walnuts and mixes them with the sugar, which he then spreads on top of the portioned Pork Belly.

For his Pea puree, Chef Dampies uses 200g of peas, 50ml of cream and salt and brings a pot of water to the boil to blanch the peas for 5 minutes. He then removes the peas and adds them to a food processor and adds the cream. He blends all this together until it is smooth and uses the salt to season.

The red cabbage is the easiest to cook. Using 1 half of a small red cabbage, he cuts the half in half again to get two quarters. He removes the core to get a flat surface, and then slices it thinly to create a chiffonade style cut. He then blanches the cut cabbage in the pea water and then sautés it in butter and seasons it.

Last, but not least is the sauce. He takes two cups of pork cooking liquid, adds 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and reduces it on the stove to ¾ cup.

He usually plates each dish for each guest, by placing the sautéed cabbage on the plate, spooning one tablespoon of pea puree on each plate and dragging across for effect. He then places the crusted belly on the cabbage, adds the bacon and drizzles some of the reduced sauce over, but if you would prefer to have each guest dish their own, then this is also an option.

“Try something new this festive season and spoil loved ones with a delicious meal made from the heart,” Chef Dampies says.