This series, it’s all about the ultimate grub for the weekend. Each week we’ve got a very special guest helping in the kitchen, starting with Olympic legend Usain Bolt. On the menu is his all-time favourite dish, jerk pork.
I spoke to Usain’s Aunt Lilly, and she’s given me her original recipe. This is my take on her version – succulent jerk meat, golden Jamaican yams and homemade dumplings – you’ll find it hard not to love this, too. Serve it with rice and peas for an epic meal.
Serves 6 to 8
Total time: 5 hours, plus marinating
*dark Jamaican rum
*2kg higher-welfare pork belly, skin removed, chopped into 5cm chunks
*a large handful of fresh bay leaves
*2 medium onions, peeled
*1.2kg yellow yams, peeled
*1 large knob of unsalted butter
*250g self-raising flour
FOR THE JERK SAUCE
*8 spring onions, trimmed
*8 cloves of garlic, peeled
*2 fresh Scotch bonnet chillies, deseeded
*1/2 a bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
*3 fresh bay leaves, stalks removed
*1tsp ground cloves
*1 tsp ground allspice
*1 tsp ground nutmeg
*6 tbsp white wine vinegar
*1 tbsp runny honey
1. To make the jerk sauce, roughly chop and add the spring onions to a liquidizer with the remaining ingredients and a splash of rum. Blitz to a smooth sauce, adding a little olive oil to loosen, if needed. In a large bowl, combine half the jerk sauce with the pork belly, then cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas2. Head a good splash of olive oil in a large, wide, ovenproof pan over a medium-high heat, then add the pork and a few bay leaves. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pork is golden all over and any liquid has boiled and bubbled away. Finely slice and add the onion, then reduce the heat to low and cook for a further 10 minutes or until soft and sticky. Turn the heat up to high, add a good splash of rum and allow to bubble away for a few minutes, before adding the remaining jerk sauce and 250ml of water. Bring to the boil, then cover and place in the hot oven for 3 to 4 hours, or until reduced and sticky and the meat is tender – Aunt Lily’s version is nice and juicy but it’s not a stew!
3. When there’s around 20 minutes to go, chop the yarns into rough 2cm chunks, then parboil in a pan of boiling salted water for around 5 minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry, then add to a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium-high heat with the butter, a good drizzle of olive oil and the remaining bay leaves. Fry for around 10 minutes, or until golden. Meanwhile, remove the pork from the oven and turn the temperature up to 200oC/400oF/gas 6. Place the yams in the oven for 15 minutes, or until crisp and cooked through.
4. Meanwhile, make the dumplings by mixing the flour, cornmeal, a good pinch of salt and 250ml of cold water to form a sticky dough. Knead well on a flour-dusted surface, then roll into a sausage shape and tear off golf ball-sized lumps. Roll into balls and flatten slightly with your hands, then place in a pan of boiling slated water for around 15 minutes, or until puffed up and cooked through, turning occasionally. Drain and serve with the jerk pork and crisp, golden yarns.