Recipe of the month: Pork belly with braised leeks, king prawns and mango

Recipe of the month: Pork belly with braised leeks, king prawns, courgette ribbons and mango, served with an apple and star anise sauce

Most of us wouldn't dream of putting this much effort into a starter! Le Chardon chefs, however, can think of nothing better than spending hours perfecting their culinary creations, ready for their appreciative guests in the evening. This recipe has been put together by Jamie Robinson, another resident Scot, our quietly spoken achiever, as he executes dish after dish of gourmet delights.

The first in a series of ‘Recipe of the month', this season we promise to share the secrets of the Le Chardon kitchen. Shhh!

Enjoy – and do let us know if you have any special menu requests. We'll do our best to add them into the mix.

This recipe serves 8 as a starter but you can always scale up the ingredient quantities to suit a main course!


2 ½ kg  x Pork Belly

6 x Leeks

1 x Mango

30 x King prawns

4 x Courgettes

200 g x Salt

1 x carton apple juice

1 x star anise

100 ml white wine

2 cloves garlic

Sprig thyme


10g x Caster sugar

Olive oil as required

Butter as required

Pork belly that melts in your mouth

Salt belly for 2 hours. Wash off salt and place in a deep baking tray. Add ½ a carton of apple juice, 100ml of white wine (dry), 1 star anise, 2 cloves of garlic, a sprig of thyme and 4 cloves.

  1. Cook in the oven at 100 degrees C for at least four hours, until tender.
  2. Once the pork belly is cooked / tender, remove from the oven.
  3. Remove from the liquid in the tray, place on a chopping board and with a sharp knife, remove the thin layer of skin and set aside for some delicious crackling later on. Note: don't throw away the cooking liquid from the pork as you'll need it later!
  4. Get 2 trays the same size to press the pork.
  5. Line one with cling film. Place the pork belly in the tray, add another sheet of cling film on top and place the other tray on top of this. Place a weight on top of the two trays and pork belly.
  6. Place in the fridge!

Now for the braised leeks…

  1. Cut leeks into 4 even pieces length ways, and slice thinly along the leek about 2 cm thick.
  2. Wash and leave to dry.
  3. Heat a pot with olive oil and butter over a high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the leeks and cook until they are soft and just starting to colour.
  4. Remove from heat and cool. Set aside for later.

Preparing a king prawn feast:

  1. Remove the head and shell of the prawns.
  2. Run a knife along the top curled side to remove the vain. Repeat this process until all prawns are done. Perfect!
  3. Wash and pat dry. Place on some kitchen towel and place in the fridge for later.

All the goodness of an apple and star anise sauce:

  1. Pass the left over pork belly liquid through a fine strainer.
  2. Place into a pot and bring to the boil. Reduce by half.
  3. Add two tablespoons of corn flour to 5 ml of cold water and mix well. A shaker comes in handy here.
  4. Add the corn flour mixture to the boiling sauce and stir until desired thickness.

Add the tart/sweet tang of a slightly unripe mango:

  1. The mango should be a little unripe but still soft to touch. Peel the mango and cut into 2 long pieces length way just missing the seed.
  2. Using a mandolin, cut very thin slices of the mango. Don't do this too early, however, or it'll spoil!

And lastly but not leastly, ribbons of crunchy courgettes:

  1. Using a peeler, peel ribbons of courgette (lengthways).
  2. Place into a tub, squeeze the juice of a whole lemon over them, a tablespoon of salt and caster sugar. This cooks the courgette and helps it wilt.

Now to plate it up

To plate this dish, place the braised leeks into the middle of the bowl and place the hot sealed pork belly on top across the leeks. Place two prawns gently on top of the pork belly.

Thinly slice the peeled mango and add it in a fan out style on to the pork belly. Hold the ribbon of courgette in both hands with both thumbs and index fingers and shape into a rose or figure of 8 shape (something nice). Place on top of the mango.

Drizzle the sauce around the pork belly and leeks et voila. Time to serve and all being well, wait for the ‘compliments to the chef'!