This pork roast recipe makes a spice rubbed roast pork stuffed with garlic, herbs and spices that is as rich and delicious as it looks. The slow cooked pork belly roast has a crunchy skin and moist pork belly infused with spices and herbs. It’s so rich, you wouldn’t want to eat it every weekend, but it’s perfect for Easter Sunday.
If you’re looking for an easy set-and-forget pork roast for Easter Sunday instead of a ham, then why not try this succulent pork roast recipe for a spice rubbed roast pork belly stuffed with garlic, herbs and spices? It has an incredibly crunchy skin and the melt-in-the-mouth pork belly is flavoured with garlic, herbs and spices.
You will have to start this pork roast today, however, as you need to massage your pork belly with olive oil, spices and herbs, roll it up, tie it up, and it needs to marinate overnight so it’s infused with all those wonderful flavours. Then tomorrow you just need to roast it and roast some vegetables with it.
If you’re sticking to fish, we’ve got loads of salmon recipes, including a recipe for an incredibly pretty and super easy salmon tray bake with spring vegetables that’s just made for a light Easter Sunday lunch in the sunshine. If you’re in the increasingly chilly southern hemisphere we also have recipes for a heartier crispy skin salmon fillet and colcannon with prawns.
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Pork Roast Recipe for Spice Rubbed Roast Pork Stuffed with Garlic, Herbs and Spices
This pork roast recipe will make you a pork belly roast that’s stuffed with garlic, rubbed with spices, and rolled up with loads of herbs and it’s as flavoursome as it sounds and looks, with a crunchy skin surrounding velvety pork belly infused with spices and herbs.
It’s so incredibly rich that you wouldn’t want to eat it every weekend – although the leftovers make amazing sandwiches – but it’s perfect for the occasional holiday meal when you want a pork roast that’s a bit special.
As regular readers know, I have Russian-Ukrainian heritage – my grandparents and great grandmother, who were World War II refugees who settled in Australia in the late 1940s, were born in Ukraine when it was part of the Russian Empire – and I’ve been researching and writing a cookbook of family recipes and stories and researching the cuisines of the region.
My pork roast recipe is inspired by a traditional Russian roast pork called buzhenina. In fact, it’s a medieval Russian pork roast recipe, dating to the 1550s. The first written reference to buzhenina is in a book called Domostroi: Rules for Russian Households in the Time of Ivan the Terrible.
Through its instructions and recipes, the book provides a fascinating insight into how those peoples foraged, fished, hunted, grew, raised, stored, preserved, fermented, cooked, presented, and ate their food, particularly on specific occasions and holidays, such as feast days.
While Domostroi was essentially a household management manual for nobles, there’s a great deal of guidance devoted to how to feed the servants and serfs, and in many respects if those landowners followed that advice, their staff probably ate better at Easter than they did, and buzhenina is the best example.
Historically, from medieval times right through the various Tsarist eras and Soviet period, buzhenina was made with the leanest pork cuts – indeed, so lean that it looks very dry in images I’ve spotted in popular USSR cookbooks and also contemporary recipes online.
While the nobles nibbled on dry pork loin back in the days of Domostroi, their staff were feasting on the less desirable parts, including juicy pork belly roasted in hay. Tzar Peter the Great didn’t introduce the potato to Russian until 1697 so root vegetables such as carrots, onions and turnips were roasted with the pork. I know which table I’d prefer to be seated at!
Just a few quick tips to making this pork roast recipe below.
Tips to Making this Pork Roast Recipe for Spice Rubbed Roast Pork Stuffed with Garlic, Herbs and Spices
I only have a few tips to making this pork roast recipe starting with the pork belly itself. Do buy your belly from a butcher you trust who can roll up a pork belly with a nice balance of lean and fatty pork so it’s not all fat.
Do get the butcher to tie up the pork belly for you, then untie it to prick the little pockets to tuck the sliced garlic cloves into, massage the extra virgin olive oil into the pork, rub the spices into the belly, and sprinkle with fresh herbs, before you roll it up and tie it up again, then salt and rub spices into the skin.
It’s so important to marinate the pork belly the day before and leave it overnight so it’s infused with the wonderful flavours of the spices, herbs and garlic. As for those spices… medieval Russians used a lot of spices back in those days, thanks to their ties with Constantinople, not to mention their Mongol Empire overlords who had previously conquered the whole of Asia and Europe.
The spice mix I’ve chosen includes spices that are typically used to marinate shasliks – Russian barbecued meat skewers – but feel free to adjust the spice blend to your own taste.
When it comes to roasting the pork, low and slow is essentially to render the fats, but you’ll need high heat initially to get that nice crunchy pork crackling. I’ve tested pork roast recipes that roast the pork on low for a couple of hours first and then turn the heat to high to create the crackling, and roast the pork on high first to create the crackling then turn to low for the long slow roast and in my experience the latter method produces the crunchiest skin.
I’ve also tried periodic basting of the skin in the pork juices and basting only once at the start and once near the end, and both methods produced crunchy skin. It’s the high heat that’s most important for getting that crackling skin.
Serve the pork roast with the baked vegetables and a big bowl of creamy mashed potatoes.
Pork Roast Recipe for Spice Rubbed Roast Pork Stuffed with Garlic, Herbs and Spices
- 1.5 kg pork belly
- 8 garlic cloves smashed and quartered
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp red pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground fennel
- 1 tsp smoky paprika
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh dill roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp celery leaf roughly chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- If you’ve bought a pork belly already rolled up and tied for roasting, unroll it on a cutting board and use a knife to prick the skin all over with small slits, which you should stuff with the garlic pieces.
- Mix the salt, peppers and dried spices together in a bowl, massage half a tablespoon of olive oil into the pork belly, rub ¾ of the spice mix all over the pork, then sprinkle on ¾ of the chopped fresh dill, flat leaf parsley and celery leaves.
- Tightly roll up the pork, re-tie it with kitchen twine, settle it on enough foil to wrap it completely, then rub another half a tablespoon of olive oil and the rest of the spice mix into the skin, sprinkle on the remaining herbs, then wrap the pork in foil, and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.
- The next day, pre-heat your oven to 220°C / 430°F. Pour the rest of the olive oil into a roasting tray, unwrap your pork belly and place it at the centre of the pan, and slip the bay leaves under each corner of the pork, and slide the tray into the oven.
- Roast the underside of the pork belly with the seam facing upwards for 15 minutes then turn the pork over (seam down) and roast for another 30 minutes until the skin is crispy, crackling and bubbling.
- Turn the heat down to 150°C / 300°F. If the pork skin is dark brown, cover the top of the pork with a little foil so it doesn’t burn, otherwise, cover it later, and roast for 3 hours, basting the pork with its juices every hour.
- If doing roast vegetables, add potato pieces one hour before the pork finishes, small purple shallots 30 minutes before, and baby carrots 15 minute before, coating the vegetables with the pork juices and sprinkling on a little salt.
- When the pork is done, rest it for 30 minutes, then coat the pork and vegetables with remaining cooking juices before serving, or use the juices to make a gravy – or do both! Serve with the baked vegetables and mashed potatoes.
Please do let us know if you make our pork roast recipe for a spice rubbed roast pork stuffed with garlic, herbs and spices as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.