If you had to eat just one food every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? That’s not a hard choice for me. This is it.
1 (1 and 1/2 pound) pork belly, about half lean, with a thick layer of fat on top
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon ground fennel seed
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 medium onion (7 oz), chopped
1 large carrot (3 ½ oz), chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 tablespoon good quality lard or tallow or high heat oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 cup dry white wine
1 (2-inch) piece of cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
2 whole juniper berries
1 whole cardamom pod
1 whole clove
1 quart chicken or turkey stock
1 additional tablespoon of fat or oil for crisping pork
Make Dry Rub:
Mix seasoning ingredients thoroughly. Rub onto all sides of the pork belly and place in a nonreactive dish or pan. Sprinkle any remaining dry rub on top of the meat (use all of rub). Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Remove pork from refrigerator and place in a roasting pan.
Make Braising Liquid:
In a large saucepan, saute onion, carrot, and celery in fat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until wine is evaporated. Add cinnamon stick, star anise, juniper berries, cardamom, clove, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
Cook and Finish:
Pour hot braising liquid over pork belly. Cover and place in oven. Cook 3 ½ 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 cooking liquid until ready to proceed.
Remove the belly from the braising liquid and cool. Discard liquid or reserve for cooking vegetables to accompany pork belly (Brussels sprouts are nice). Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut belly into 4 portions. Place, fat-side-side-down, in a hot skillet with a a tablespoon of fat or oil and saute for 2 minutes. Return to oven to heat through, about 5 minutes. Finish warming in oven for 5 minutes.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition data: Calories: 881; Fat: 90.2g (42% monounsaturated. 32.9 saturated, 9.6 polyunsaturated); Protein: 15.9g; Carbs: 0; Fiber: 0
(Data includes only pork belly as other ingredients are not included in final dish.)
Recipe based on one by chef Donald Link of Cochon Restaurant in New Orleans, LA.
Note: If even after all the recent news stories, anyone is still nervous about eating fat, do yourself a favor and read The Big Fat Surprise; Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, by Nina Teicholz and Rejoice!
(c) 2014, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com