Eastern European cooks are frugal, not wasting one ounce of the animals they slaughter -- heads, feet, tails, innards and more all find a place in the culinary repertoire. Pork belly, once considered scrap meat and relegated to the soup or cabbage pot, is now treated like royalty in trendy restaurants around the world. It's a fatty piece of meat, but when handled properly, wow!
Makes 4 servings Braised Pork Belly
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours
- Dry Rub Marinade:
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ground fennel seed
- 1 tablespoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds pork belly in one rectangular piece, at least 60 percent lean
- Braising Liquid:
- 1 medium chopped yellow onion
- 1 large chopped carrot
- 3 ribs chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 whole tomatoes
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2-inch cinnamon stick
- 1 whole star anise
- 2 whole juniper berries
- 1 cardamom pod
- 1 whole clove
- 1 quart chicken stock
- For the dry rub marinade: Combine all marinade ingredients thoroughly. Rub onto all sides of the pork belly, place in a nonreactive pan and top with any remaining dry rub marinade over the meat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Remove belly from refrigerator and place in a roasting pan.
- To make the braising liquid: In a large saucepan, saute onion, carrot and celery in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until evaporated. Add cinnamon stick, star anise, juniper berries, cardamom, clove and chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
- Pour hot braising liquid over pork belly. Cover and place in oven. Cook 3 1/2 hours or until completely tender when pierced with a fork. Note: The pork belly can be prepared up to this point and refrigerated in the braising liquid until ready to proceed.
- Remove the belly from the braise and cool. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut belly into 4 portions. Saute in a hot skillet with a little oil for two minutes, fat side down. Finish warming in oven for 5 minutes.