I've long wanted to play around with pork belly, but wasn't able to find it readily. Recently, however, a new international market opened, literally across the street from my apartment complex. Not only do they have every cut of meat and every type of offal imaginable, they are also ridiculously inexpensive.
So, it's possible I've gone a little overboard on the pork belly lately, but who can blame me? It is the single-most decadent cut I can imagine, and can be prepared in so many ways, from crispy rendered pieces to tender, melting braises.
This dish tries to capture both - first the belly is braised to create a flavorful, rich, melting bite, and then finished, either under the broiler or in a saute pan (I prefer the broiler). The poaching liquid reduces down to a thick sauce with almost no reduction needed. The leftovers (if there are any) make great lardon when sliced and rendered. —Eaton
Pork Belly (My butcher cuts these into 1-inch wide lengths)
Freshly-ground White Pepper
Oil or rendered pork fat
Cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
Braising Liquid and Aromatics
Rice Wine Vinegar
Small Onion, cut into 1/4" slices
1-1 1/2" Fresh Ginger, cut into 1/4" slices
1-1 1/2" Lemongrass, peeled and cut into 1/4" slices
clove of garlic, smashed
In This Recipe
Blend five-spice, salt and pepper. Rub into pork belly. Place in plastic bag and refrigerate, at least 4 hours but overnight if possible. Blend all liquid ingredients and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350.
In a Duch Oven, heat oil/pork fat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sear pork belly on all sides, 2-3 minutes a side, until golden brown. Remove from pan.
Reduce heat, and sweat onions for 2-3 minutes. Deglaze pan with blended liquids. Add ginger, lemongrass and garlic.
Return pork belly to pan, fat side up. Bring to boil, cover, put into preheated oven. Allow the belly to braise for 3 hours.
Remove pork from pan, and check the braising liquid for consistency. If too thin, reduce. Strain through a fine strainer and a coffee filter. Adjust seasoning if needed.
In a roasting pan, crisp the pork belly under the broiler, roughly 2-3 minutes a side, depending on distance from heat.
Slice pork belly into 1/4" to 1/2" inch slices. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve with sauce underneath the slices.