Marinated pork belly, picadito and new potatoes

Pork belly with accompaniments. Photograph: Felix Clay for the Guardian

Nuno Mendes’ Portuguese Christmas recipe

The chef recalls childhood Christmases and recreates a traditional feast, “in Portugal, Christmas is a time when our passion for seafood, pork and salt cod reaches its peak. I’ve gone for pork belly in this year’s feast, as we use it a lot in Portugal and in the UK.”

So if your looking for a traditional Portuguese Christmas meal to cook for the holidays, look no further. Here’s his Marinated pork belly, picadito and new potatoes recipe.


  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, crushed to paste
  • 3 tbs paprika
  • Juice and zest from one orange
  • ½ pork belly, deboned
  • Salt
  • 1 kg baby new potatoes
  • 10ml olive oil
  • Maldon salt
  • Cracked black pepper

For the picadito:

  • 5 tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • Salt
  • White pepper
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 20ml white wine vinegar

For the garnish:

  • One orange, cut into wedges
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • Handful of mint leaves
  • 1 bunch watercress

Combine the coriander, garlic and paprika with the orange juice and zest. Rub this marinade over the pork belly, sprinkle evenly with salt and leave in the fridge overnight.

When ready to cook, sear the pork belly, skin side down, in a large frying pan so it starts to crisp and brown. Transfer to the oven at 120C/gas ½ and roast on a rack with a drip pan underneath for four hours.

Boil the potatoes in salt water, peel and chop, then toss in olive oil, add them to the dripping tray and roast in the pork fat for the last 45 minutes.

If you have a grill setting in your oven, turn it to high to further crisp up the skin on the pork (keep a close eye so it doesn’t burn) and then remove it.

Brush some of the cooking fat from the drip tray on to the skin and sprinkle with Maldon salt and cracked black pepper. Rest the meat before carving.

For the picadito, roughly chop the tomatoes and strain, leaving the pulp behind. Mix the diced vegetables with about 100ml of this tomato juice, season with salt and white pepper and add the vinegar and olive oil to taste.

Garnish the pork with the potatoes and picadito. Serve with the citrus wedges, mint and watercress on the side.

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