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Braised Pork Belly Tacos with Watermelon, Jicama & Jalapeño Salsa
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The ingredients you'll need for the tacos: orange juice, garlic, shallot, pork belly, honey, red onion, jalapeno, tortillas, jicama, watermelon, peppercorns, bay leaf, allspice, lime and cilantro.
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A simple savory-sweet brine -- just honey, bay leaves, salt and black peppercorns diluted with water -- gets the pork off on a good foot (belly?).
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Bring it to a boil, just to dissolve the salt and honey and release the bay and peppercorn's flavors.
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Bay lilypads and peppercorn water skeeters.
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Go go brine!
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You want the brine to be cool when you dump it on the pork (so it doesn't start cooking prematurely) -- an ice bath helps to get there faster.
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Still life in pork. a la Alison calls for a 6-7 hour brine in the fridge -- but if you don't have that long, it will still be good.
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The pork belly we found still had the ribs attached (bonus dinner -- already brined!). Here's how we separated the two after patting them dry.
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1-inch slabs, ready to move on to the next phase: the braise.
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The simplest of spice rubs: salt, pepper, allspice.
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Lots of allspice (trust us).
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Braise kickoff -- first sear the slabs on all sides. They're about to get really pretty.
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Jalapeno's first role: adding heat to the braising liquid. (Role #2 is in the kicky salsa.)
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Get that pork out of the way to sweat the jalapeno, shallot and garlic.
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Pork returns to the stage. OJ + chicken stock: not part of a balanced breakfast. But part of a killer pork braise? Yes.
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Summer = spicy fruit salsa.
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We ended up with a rather beastly jicama -- peeling with a vegetable peeler kind of worked.
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But a chef's knife really took care of business.
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Watermelon is a funny shape to dice. We got creative.