“Jerk pork is Usain Bolt’s favourite meal – inspired by his Aunt Lilly, you’ll find it hard not to love this, too. Making the jerk sauce from scratch creates smells and flavours you won't believe, and I'm serving it up with proper Jamaican yams and dumplings. Comfort food at its best. ”
To make the jerk sauce, trim and roughly chop the spring onions, peel the garlic, deseed the chillies and place it all in a blender. Strip in the thyme leaves, then tear in the bay leaves, discarding the stalks. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and a splash of rum. Blitz until smooth, loosening with a little oil, if needed.
Massage half the jerk sauce into the pork belly, then cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/gas 2.
Place a large, wide, ovenproof pan on a medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Chop the pork into 5cm chunks and add to the pan with 3 bay leaves. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pork is golden all over and any liquid has bubbled and boiled away.
Peel, finely slice and add the onions, then cook on a low heat for 10 minutes, or until soft and sticky. Turn the heat up to high, add a good splash of rum and allow to bubble away, then stir in the remaining jerk sauce and 250ml of water.
Bring to the boil, then cover and cook in the oven for 3 to 4 hours, or until sticky and reduced and the meat is tender, adding a splash of water if it’s too dry. You want it nice and juicy, but it’s not a stew!
With around 25 minutes to go, peel the yams and chop into rough 2cm chunks. Parboil in a pan of boiling salted water for 10 minutes, then drain and allow to steam dry. Place in a large ovenproof frying pan on a medium-high heat with the butter, a good drizzle of oil and the remaining bay leaves. Fry for 10 minutes, or until golden.
Meanwhile, remove the pork from the oven, cover and put aside, then turn the temperature up to 200ºC/400ºF/ gas 6.
Transfer the yams to the oven for 15 minutes, or until crisp and cooked through.
Make the dumplings by mixing the flour, cornmeal, a good pinch of sea 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 golfball-sized pieces.
Roll into balls, flatten slightly with your hands, then place in a pan of boiling salted water for 15 minutes, or until puffed up and cooked through, turning occasionally. Drain and serve with the jerk pork and crispy yams.