Nestled in Thyme's 'village within a village,' you will find the Ox Barn restaurant. Under the direction of Head Chef Charlie Hibbert, Thyme curate amazing dishes inspired by their rural surroundings. We are lucky to be able to share inspiring recipes from the team so that you can try them at home...

The recipe

'Each week our delivery of half a pig is split into its components, with each assigned to a desired plate of food for the week. The belly has many uses, but we love the chance to make rillettes as a starter or bite to last the weekend. If you make too much, it keeps well for a month in the fridge, as long as there is a layer of fat over the top of the meat, sealing it from the air.'

Ingredients

¼ of a pork belly, skin removed

50g salt

6 sprigs of thyme

5 black peppercorns

3 bay leaves

Enough duck fat to cover

Sea salt flakes & freshly cracked black pepper

For the pickle

1 head of endive

300ml cider vinegar

200g caster sugar

50ml water

1 tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp fennel seeds

A pinch of chilli flakes

Serve with cornichons, toast, and any other chosen pickles or preserves.

Method

Preheat the oven to 100°C (normal) | 80°C (fan) | gas mark ¼.

Place the pork belly in a tray along with the salt, peppercorns, and herbs. Allow the pork to sit overnight or for up to 48 hours. When ready to cook, rinse any excess salt from the pork and dab it dry with a piece of kitchen towel. Cover the pork in the duck fat and place in the oven for 5 hours or until the pork is soft when pierced with a knife. Lift the pork gently out of the fat and using two forks shred the meat thoroughly in a bowl. Add in two or three tablespoons of the cooking fat and season as necessary. When finished, put the pork into a container and press the meat into the corners. Cover the pork in a layer of fat, preserving it for later use.

For the pickle, cut the endive into six along its length, leaving the root intact so each segment will hold its shape. Put the rest of the ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil over medium to high heat. Once the pickling liquor has come up to temperature, gently drop in the endive. Allow the pot to come back up to boil for a minute, then pour its contents into a tray. Allow it to cool down before storing it in the fridge. It will last 3-4 days in the fridge.

To assemble, take a large spoonful of the rillettes and place them on your plate. Arrange the cornichons, endive, and any extra pickles around the rillettes.  Have a slice of toast ready for each guest plus a couple of spare slices for anyone who is overzealous!

-

About Thyme

Thyme includes 32 bedrooms situated throughout the Georgian rectory, The Lodge, The Tallet and the buildings around the courtyard and gardens. Ox Barn (seats 62) offers a wonderful dining experience, with its own twist on seasonal British food.

Thyme also offers the Baa bar, meadow spa, pool, orchid house and botanical bothy. The piggery and balcony room boutiques stock Bertioli by Thyme's range of silkwear, tableware and bespoke homeware.

If that's not enough, their 'village within a village' also contains a cookery school, floristry and drawing classes, farm, kitchen gardens, orchards and water meadows. Cottages are available for private hire and you can also book the Tithe Barn for private events.

You can view our collection of Thyme recipes and our interview with Charlie Hibbert on L-Shaped.

Thyme’s room rates currently start at £335 (midweek) / £395 (Fri, Sat) per night.  These are room rates include breakfast.

Thyme, Southrop Manor Estate, Southrop, Gloucestershire, GL7 3PW

www.thyme.co.uk | 01367 850 174 | reception@thyme.co.uk