Pork belly cubes appetizer / starter recipe (slow cooker friendly)

Chilli and apple pork belly

I first had this dish at a Portuguese tapas restaurant and instantly fell in love with it. I found I could use either a large piece of pork belly or belly slices but for me it simply was the best way to cook pork belly slices or whole.

It took me a while to perfect as well. I couldn’t really go into the restaurant ans say “Can you please tell me how to make this so I can make it at home instead of coming here?”

Even if I used the most politely worded request that would be what they hear.

So armed with my finely tuned palate and keen sense of smell, I set out to discover the key to this great dish. It took me about 8 visits (was not a problem going there repeatedly as the food was great!) and about 5 of my own attempts before I could recreate this awesome flavoured dish.

If you are a fan of pork belly then you will absolutely love this.


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time:  3 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Serves: 10
Calories per serving: 439
Cost per serving: £ 0.52p


900g pork belly
1 apple
2 chillies
1 onion
50g sugar
3 tomatoes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cornflour
salt to taste


Finely chop the onions, de-seed and finely chop the chillies. If you like your dishes with more zing you can leave the chilli seeds in but I feel this can upset the balance of flavours. Not to say my way is the only way, try both and see what you like best.

Add the chillies and onion to a saucepan with a teaspoon of oil and cook for few minutes until onions begin to brown.

Chop the tomatoes and peel, core and chop the apple into small pieces.

Add the tomatoes and apple to the saucepan along with the sugar, paprika and a pinch of salt.

Bring to boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes until mixture becomes more liquid as the ingredients sweat and break down.

While this is happening take the pork belly and score the skin into small squares as this will be where you cut the pork into servings, smaller squares will mean smaller cubes of meat but don’t make them too small or the skin will separate from the meat when it’s time to cut into pieces. If using belly slices place them together side by side, skin side up and score across the skin.

When the skin is scored into squares take the onion/tomato mixture and place into an ovenproof dish and place the pork on top. If slices keep the slices together.

Cover the dish with foil and place into a preheated oven for 2 hours at 120 degrees or gas mark 1/2. If using a slow cooker follow the manufacturers guidelines for the cook time.

Remove the foil and cook for a further hour at 150 degrees or gas mark 2 (or if using slow cooker remove and place under grill skin side up to crisp up the skin, keep under until the skin begins to expand and pop)

Lastly when this is finished remove the pork from the vegetables and liquid and place the meat to one side.

Empty the vegetables and liquid into a saucepan and place on medium heat and allow the mixture to reduce.

Add the cornflour to the vegetable reduction once it has started to darken in colour, this will not only thicken the sauce but give it a nice sheen which makes it look even more appealing.

Chop the pork into cubes and mix into the thickened sauce and serve.


Food Hacks

Use pork fillet to reduce the calories to about 134 cal per serve for a healthier option making sure to remove all skin.

About the Author

The Wooden Chef

Hi, My name is Lee and I am crazy about food. I love to cook and create great food for less. I hope you enjoy my blog, if so thank you. If you really enjoy it please also let people know and if there is anything you would like me to make please also let me know


Lori Tullis

Oh my goodness! I hope my tiny grocery store carries pork belly because this is going on my menu plan for my next grocery trip. Thank you for linking up with Thankful Thursdays. I hope to see you again next week.

The Wooden Chef

Hi Lori, thanks for the comment and for the linky too 🙂 If you cannot find pork belly you can always use pork chops or belly strips If you stack them, let me know how it turns out, will be sure to be there next Thursday, thanks again Lori


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