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Eat everything just not too much. The decadence of pork belly!

October 8, 2009

I have been completely re-inspired by the writings of Michael Rhulman. If you have not read his books check them out here. He writes so clearly and captures the passion of all cooks/foodies as well as giving great information. His book Charcuterie has become my new reference guide.

I bought a 9lb pork belly on line (Heritage meats are great). I have bacon and pancetta curing in the refrigerator.porkbelly I had a 1 lb angular piece left so I decided to do a braised pork belly. The weather here in LA dipped from 100 degree days to 70. With that “chill” in the air (you folks in the Midwest and East are laughing at me right now) a hearty lunch was just the ticket.

Very easy. I rubbed the belly with five spice and brown sugar. I seasoned it with salt and seared it on both sides. The brown sugar and five spice caramelized together to create the sweetest, most aromatic culinary perfume you can imagine. I took it out of the pan and added carrots, garlic and shallots. Once lightly brown I hit it with chicken stock and brought it to a boil. I poured it halfway up the belly in a roasting pan, covered it with foil and into a 275 degree oven. Three hours later it was so tender it was falling apart. I had to plunge my fingers into the hot broth to snag a morsel that had drifted off. It may have been the most tender, juicy morsel of meat I have ever eaten. I lifted the belly out of the broth and cut it into 2” wide strips. I glazed it with hoisin sauce and put it under the broiler for a minute for a sweet glaze.

I had some kale from the farmers market so I did a quick sauté with chile flakes and canola oil and then hit it with rice wine vinegar and a touch of mirin. The result was a heavenly lunch with my beautiful wife. The glaze was sweet and prepared you for the crisp top. Our forks naturally separated the fat and the meat pulling tender chunks of pork onto the wilted kale. The pork was rich but not too much as much of the fat had leached out into the braising liquid. The sharpness of the vinegar in the kale was the perfect foil to the fat that was there. We only had a 4oz serving each and it was just enough. Decadent but not over the top. I love to eat everything and still feel good. Enjoy!

Eat well, enjoy life, be happy.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Dank Dillweed permalink
    October 8, 2009 3:58 pm

    Nice site, Mr. Saad. Just read a press release from here in Chicago, congrats.

    There’s a site you’re probably aware of, Food Network Humor, that has plenty of supporters of you, your skills, and style. Some detractors, but overall, most of the readers wish you prevailed on NFNS.

    Not kissing your ass, just keep it up, the FN needs your style, not more rudimentary shows with chicken breasts and pasta. If not, I think you’d fit in at PBS.


    PS: When you do make it big, resist puting your name on BS products (I’m not mentioning names). Some marketing/merchandising is expected, but we don’t need a Chef X pan, salt shaker, chop sticks, etc. Something innovative like Alton Brown’s angle -handed knives, but no juicers, ro-tato, etc.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      October 9, 2009 7:52 am

      Thank you for being supportive and honest. I appreciate it. Take care and thanks for reading my blog!

  2. Mary permalink
    October 9, 2009 7:37 am

    5 star for Jeffrey!! Just what is pork belly? By the way, I found Harissa at William Sonoma! Thanks, as always

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      October 9, 2009 7:54 am

      Hello mary, i asked the same thing at one point! Believe it or not it is just un-cured, un-smoked bacon! The whole belly before it is turned into bacon products Very rich but very tasty. Thanks much!

      • October 10, 2009 10:42 am

        Hi Jeffrey,

        Once again, you are making everyone out here in foodie-ville get excited to get out the knives and pans and go cook something! As the temp here in Santa Barbara is also getting a bit chilly in the evenings, I made my “Puerko-Bucco” and it too was braising at that magic temp of 275 for three hours. I used some loin pork chops instead of veal shank. It tastes wonderful without the big cost of the veal.

        Keep up the great work!

      • Jeffrey Saad permalink
        October 14, 2009 1:01 pm

        well done Andrew, good call. Thanks much!! Take care.

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