Braised Local Pork Belly
I would recommend this for the home cook—braising is a fairly forgiving technique. Pork belly has been gaining a lot of menu play and press in the past couple of years and seems to be more noticeable lately. And most people will be more willing to try fresh bacon as opposed to spleen toast (though that’s very tasty). The end result is tender and succulent— not a whole lot different than short ribs, but with a little more fat. Pork belly is usually cheaper than other cuts and great for the winter.
- 3 pounds fresh pork belly
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 head celery, chopped
- 3 large onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped, seeds removed
- 1 head garlic, halved
- 1 bunch thyme
- 1⁄2 bottle red wine
- 3 quarts veal stock (or substitute chicken or pork stock)
- salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350° F
- Season pork belly with salt and pepper.
- Using a Dutch oven, coat pan with olive oil and sauté onions until translucent.
- Add celery, carrots, tomato, garlic and thyme and cook until aromatic (about 5 minutes).
- Deglaze the pan with red wine and bring mixture to a boil.
- Add stock and return to a boil. Reduce heat and place the pork belly in the pan skin-side up. (The liquid should not completely cover the pork.)
- Cover the pan and place in oven. Cook for 3 1⁄2 to 4 hours until tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the liquid.
- Remove pork from liquid and cut into six portions.
- Strain liquid into saucepan and reduce liquid by three-quarters.
- To finish, heat a little oil in a fry pan and sear the pork belly.
Plate and serve the pork belly with reduced braising liquid.