How to cook lechon in an oven: recipe from Mama Sita

I already narrated before our Divisoria press trip with the people from Mama Sita.The culmination of our tour was our lunch at the cozy Ristorante Delle Mitre in front of the historic San Agustin Church. I was surprised that this resto is being ran by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Anyway, we were served food using Mama Sita ingredients and I wouldn’t object since we also use this brand at home. What caught my attention was the oven-roasted pork belly (lechon) resplendent in its brown skin. I guess lechon is one food we leave to the experts and thus prefer to buy it outside. But what if you’re just itching to make your own for special occasions or just to impress? Here’s the recipe you can do at home, in your oven…. perfect for welcoming the New Year when lechon is the family’s majestic celebration dish ;)

oven-style lechon

Roast Pork Belly using Sampalok paste
Makes 10-12 servings

1 pc(13”x10”x2) whole pork belly w/ skin and less fat 3.1 kg
6 stalks lemongrass, pounded and cut into 13 in. long (78 g)
39 pcs Spring onions, whole, cut into 13 in. long (39 g)
½ cup Murang dahon ng sampalok (10 g)
9 pcs (12” long) Food string for tying pork, cut into 12” in. long.

Brining solution:

3 ½ cups Water (875 ml)
9 cloves Garlic ,crushed (38 g)
1 pc Onion ,chopped (45 g)
1 pc Bay leaf
1 ½ pouch Mama Sita Sinigang sa Sampalok paste (225 g)
2 tbsp Salt (24 g)
3 ½ tbsp Patis (52.5 ml)
1/8 tsp Ground black pepper

Procedure:

1. Pre-heat oven @250°F.

2. Combine all ingredients in a casserole. Mix well. Boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside and cool. Remove crushed garlic for the filling later.

3. Marinate pork belly in the brining solution for at least 1 day or more. Cover with cling wrap and chill in the refrigerator.

Arrange lemongrass, spring onions, garlic (from brining solution) in the center of the belly.

4. Roll pork and tie securely with food grade string. Place in a roasting pan. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 2 hours.

5. Increase heat to 400°F.Remove foil. Bake for 2 hours and 36 minutes (turning meat from time to time) or until the skin becomes dark red in color and crispy.

6. Brush skin with cold water in the last 10 minutes of baking to crack the skin.

7. Remove from heat and let it rest for 10 minutes. Remove the string and cut into serving pieces.

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