I've never been to the UK so I did a bit of research to figure out what is quintessential pub food. My eye was caught by a very simple bacon sandwich - white bread - something called HP sauce. I decide to riff on this by making a pork belly sandwich. This is certainly something of an indulgence - pork belly gets its succulence through layers of luxurious fat . . . but I balanced it with a crisp slaw and some tangy blue cheese. The cooking liquid from the pork belly becomes a rich stock you pour over the meat and saturate the rolls (use a sturdy roll like cibatta so it doesn't fall apart when saturated with the delicious broth). I can imagine this would be a nice treat late night at a dark pub. The pork belly approach was taken from David Chang's amazing pork belly buns. —meganvt01
boneless skinless pork belly - cut into four pieces
Toast the whole spices in a dry skillet until they become aromatic - about 5 minutes on medium.
Mix the salt, sugar, juice, water and stir until dissolved. Add spices and thyme. Pour over pork belly pieces in a baking dish (keep it tight so the pieces are submerged) and brine for 12 hours. (Pork should be fat side up)
Remove the belly from the brine - keep in the baking dish and pour in the chicken stock. Cover tightly with foil and roast in a 300 degree oven for 3 hours.
Remove the foil and turn on the broiler (keeping the pan in the same mid-rack position rather than moving it up towards the broiler) and broil until the fat top is really browned and crispy. Let cool in the liquid.
Slice the pork into 1/4 inch slices. If you want a really crispy sandwich - add this step - heat up a cast iron skillet over medium high - lay the slices of pork belly for 1 -2 minutes until the side is crisp.
Slaw and Sandwich Assembly
Using a mandoline - thinly slice the apple and fennel bulbs. Toss with shallots and thyme.
Mix the dijon, cider vinegar, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over apple fennel mixture.
Assemble the sandwich - place 4 or 5 slices of crispy pork on the bottom roll. Pour over 1 - 2 tablespoons of the cooking broth. Pile on the apple fennel slaw (about 1/2 cup) and sprinkle on your desired amount of crumbled stilton.
After spending years in school while working full time, I'm happy to finally have my evenings pursuing my other passion, cooking! I have a 4 year old boy and a husband that are both adventurous eaters and supportive tasters. I spend a good bit of my vacation travel preparation researching local and regional foods and my friends all make fun of my food obsession.
I've always been pretty confident with my techniques cooking from recipes but I am enjoying Food52's challenge of putting those techniques to work for my own versions of my favorite foods. I love to learn and the group of people that contribute to this site are a great resource.
As an Annapolis native, I love to cook with our local produce and seafood whenever possible. I try to support our community of fisherman, farmers, other food producers and chefs as much as possible.