The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

How Do You Like Your Pork Belly?

March 8th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Posted in Recipes

Soon to be pork confit

Soon to be pork confit

Pork belly–uncured bacon–was all the rage for a while. Has it become a cliche already? I hope not, because my wife and I really like the fatty unctuousness of pork belly and we’ve had it served perfectly cooked at a couple of restaurants here in the District of Columbia.

Recently I tracked down some pork belly from EcoFriendly foods at the Dupont Circle farmers market. We exchanged e-mails with EcoFriendly to make sure they would have some available and they urged us to get there early, because their pork belly from Ossabaw pigs sells out fast. A package weighing 1.26 pounds set me back $12.

The next step was finding a recipe to go with this precious belly and I turned to a lovely book in our cookbook library called Pork & Sons. This is a French homage to the pig, full of arresting photographs of pigs in various stages of being killed or cooked along with lovingly told stories about French butchers and chefs who so attentively care for their pork traditions.

Heck, the book jacket is padded. And it’s pink.

I found the recipe I was looking for on page 246: Spiced pork belly confit. Confit usually refers to a preserved food and we weren’t planning on preserving this pork belly. We intended to eat it right away. Be that as it may, the pork over the course of two hours in the oven is infused with flavors of curry and saffron. My wife thought I might have seared the pork belly a little too aggressvely before putting it in the oven. In fact, she wasn’t happy at all with the results. She thought the meat should have been covered and braised. I think the 350 oven temperature recommended may be a little too high.

The original recipe calls for 3 pounds of pork, so we had to adjust.

Preheat oven to 350. In a heavy skillet, sear 3 pounds of pork belly, cut into six 1/2-pound pieces, until golden on all sides. Deglaze the skillet with white wine (you will need 4 cups altogether), scraping up any brown bits, then transfer the meat and the liquid to an oven-proof casserole. Meanwhile, bring four cups water to a boil in a saucepan, then stir in 1 tablespoon demi-glace; 1 teaspoon paprika; 1 teaspoon curry powder; 1 teaspoon saffron threads; 1 teaspoon ground ginger; 1 teaspoon ground cumin; 2 tablespoons brown sugar; 3 garlic cloves, chopped.

Add the spice liquid and the wine to the casserole and place it in the oven to cook for 2 hours, turning and basting the pork frequently. If the liquid runs low, add more water. The pork will take on a deeply flavorful glaze. Be sure to remove it before it gets too crispy. As I said, I might lower the oven temperature a little and allow the pork to cook more slowly. Still it was quite delicious served next to a green salad spiked with fresh mizuna from the garden.

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