Pork Belly With Caramelized Veggies

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

Ingredients:

  • 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.

 

3 thoughts on “Pork Belly With Caramelized Veggies

  1. Hi Casey! I love being Paleo. Congrats on doing it too. I actually tried a new pork belly recipe last weekend and liked it better than this one. The cooking method made the pork turn out more tender. My only adjustment was to not do the gravy (not necessary) and I left the veggies in the oven for another 40 mins so they got more caramelized
    http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pork-recipes/pork-belly-roast.

    I’ve never tried cutting it like bacon. The skin is so tough, it seems like it would be hard. Let me know if you find a way to do it that turns out well!

  2. Thanks for the great recipe! We have gone Paleo and were looking for something which utilized pork bellies which the hubs keeps wanting to buy (he does the shopping too for the same reasons…and yes he comes home with WONDERFUL surprises i would never have picked…) but we never knew what to do with…we see them sliced like bacon though too and i am gonna try and find a recipe for that one. I wonder if you cook it like bacon? 

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