Yesterday we decided to take a break from skiing and spent the day doing other activities – going to church, making a mexican breakfast, rock climbing, watching March Madness and cooking a favorite of ours, an easy pork belly recipe.
If you haven’t had pork belly before, you’re missing out! This is an incredibly succulent, savory cut of meat that, if cooked correctly, will fall apart with a little nudge from your fork.
I had only eaten pork belly in a restaurant before, so I was excited when Luke brought some home from Whole Foods last week. Luke does all our grocery shopping because I can’t stand doing it and he always surprises me with new things to cook at home.
I searched online for a good recipe and came across Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio’s pork belly recipe, which was also named GQ’s favorite meat dish.
The original recipe has a bunch of fancy steps like skimming fat, crosshatch incisions and scoring the meat that I just eliminated. Afterall- my Twitter says “wannabe chef” not “Top Chef contestant” and who has time to do all those little steps when the meat already looks delectable the way it is??
Pork Belly with Caramelized Veggies
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds pork belly, skin on
- 1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 leek, white part only, trimmed and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- About 3 cups brown chicken stock
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While it preheats, salt and pepper your cut of pork belly and cook fat side down (the side with more white) in a large skillet that has been heated with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Cook the pork 15 minutes until that side is browned.
While pork cooks, coarsely chop all your veggies (except the garlic cloves).
Once the pork is browned, pour off half of the excess oil/fat and add all the veggies to the same pot. Cook the veggies about 20 minutes until soft, adding pepper to taste. Return the pork belly to the pot and add two cups of chicken stock.
Bring the stock to a simmer on the stovetop and then place the whole skillet into the oven. Braise (aka bake) for 1 hour, then add the remaining cup of stock. Cook for another hour to hour and a half until you can cut into the pork easily with a fork. Your veggies should also look caramelized.
This was the part in Tom’s recipe where things got all fancy – including his suggestion that you throw away the veggies and just use the broth they left behind. Is he crazy?! Those veggies are to die for!
I opted to just cut into the meat and savor all the vegetables right out the oven, and I was not disappointed. :) We paired ours with some sweet potato fries tossed with cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
What a delicious Sunday dish! The pork was tender and juicy while the vegetables were crunchy with a sweet, caramel finish. I highly recommend you give pork belly a try.