Source: National Pork Board
Slow cooking is a natural fit for pork belly, releasing the tender, juicy elements that are hidden within. Here, the pork belly is browned and deglazed before slowly cooking in wine, stock, Mirepoix and fresh thyme leaves. The final touch—creamy grits that soak up all the flavorings from the pork belly.
Braised Pork Belly:
2-1/2 to 3 lb. pork belly, skin removed
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper, freshly ground
1/4 cup clarified butter or grape seed oil
1 bottle pinot noir or other red wine
4 cups veal stock or vegetable stock
1 med. onion, coarsely chopped
1 rib celery, cut into 1/2 in. pieces
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 in. pieces
1/2 oz. fresh thyme leaves
6 tsp. honey, light flavored
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups water
1 cup white or yellow grits or polenta (not instant)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Use a sharp knife to split pork belly crosswise in half. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tbsp. clarified butter in a large, heavy skillet or 6-qt. braiser pan. Place one piece of the pork belly fat-side down in the pan and brown. Brown both sides and transfer pork belly to a plate.
- Change butter and repeat step 2 with other half of pork belly.
- Discard fat from pan and deglaze with 1/3 cup wine. Return to heat, scraping the pan.
- Pour liquid into 6-qt. braiser and add both pieces of pork belly. Add remaining wine, stock, onion, celery, carrot and thyme. Bring to boil and cover tightly.
- Bake in oven for 3-1/2 to 4 hr. Remove and let pork belly cool completely. Reserve braising liquid.
- Portion pork belly into 3- to 4-oz. pieces. Place pork belly in a large skillet with just enough braising liquid to cover.
- Reheat on stove top over med. for 5-10 min. or until it reaches 155°F.
- Meanwhile, prepare Creamy Grits: Bring heavy cream and water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Reduce heat to med-low. Slowly stir in grits. Cook over med-low for 5-10 min. until fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper.
- For service, spoon grits onto plate; portion pork belly and braising liquid over grits.