Recipe: Sous Vide Braised Pork Belly with Chevre Polenta

Jul 01 2013 Published by under Recipes

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I really outdid myself with tonight's dinner. It was a total ad-lib - not recipe written in advance, just randomly trying to make something good. It turned out so good that I need to write down what I did, so that I can make it again!

Part 1: the pork

  • 2 1/2 pounds pork belly. I'm picky about pork; if I'm going to eat it, I want it to be good. I didn't grow up eating pork. My family didn't keep kosher, but we didn't bring pork into the house. To this day, I don't like most pork. Grocery store pork is, typically, bland, greasy, and generally nasty stuff. But the first real pork that I ate was at Momofuku in Manhattan. It was Berkshire pork, from a farm in upstate NY. That was delicious. Since then I've experimented, and I really think that nothing compares to fresh Berkshire. It costs a lot more than grocery store pork, but it's worth it. I order it direct from Flying Pig Farm.
  • 4 cloves garlic.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel pollen.
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary.
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil.
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cup salt.
  • 1/4 cup sugar.
  1. Prepare the pork belly: trim off the skin, and any egregiously extra fat from the skin side.
  2. Put the garlic, fennel pollen, rosemary, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the olive oil into a mortar and pestle, and crush them to a paste.
  3. Coat the pork with the herb paste.
  4. Add fresh-ground black pepper to the pork.
  5. Mix together 1/4 cup each of sugar and salt, and coat the pork with it.
  6. Put the pork into the fridge overnight.
  7. In the morning, remove the pork from the fridge, and discard any liquids that were drawn out by the salt.
  8. Sealed the pork in a sous vide bag, and cook at 190 degrees for
    5 hours. (If you don't have a sous vide machine, you could probably
    do it covered in a 200 degree oven. You'll probably want to add a bit
    of water.)
  9. Take out the pork, and separate the meat from the liquid that's collected in the bags. (Do NOT discard it; that's pure flavor!) Put
    both into the fridge for a couple of hours to cool.
  10. When it's cool, the fat that rendered out of the pork will have solidifed - remove it, and discard it. (Or keep it for something else.)
  11. Cut the pork into 2 inch thick chunks.
  12. In a smoking hot cast iron pan, brown the pork chunks on all sides.
  13. Add in the reserved liquids, along with 1/4 cup of port wine.
    Reduce until it forms a glaze over the pork. Remove the pork to a
    plate - it's done!

Part 2: the Polenta

  • 1 cup polenta. I use very coarse polenta - I like my polenta to have some texture. (My friend Anoop teases me, insisting that I'm making grits.)
  • 4 cups chicken stock.
  • 1 cup water.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 tablespoon butter.
  • 2 ounces chevre goat cheese.
  1. Put the salt, water, and chicken stock into a pan, and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium low, and stir in the polenta.
  3. Cook the polenta on medium low to low heat for 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Remove from heat, add in the butter, and stir until it's all melted and blended in.
  5. crumble the goat cheese in, and stir it in.

Part 3: the assembly.

  1. Put a big pile of the polenta in the middle of a plate.
  2. Put a couple of chunks of the glazed pork onto the polenta.
  3. Put sauteed asparagus around the outside.

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