I died and went to Pork Belly Heaven.
I have been following a lot of professional food bloggers for four or five years now and the common thread amongst all of them is Pork. In every shape and form. These cooks and writers of everything Pork are very knowledgeable and I revel in the recipes they write about and the methods to cook every cut there is of the pork. Including, for Chris Cosentino, (who came here to cook at DNA in February for a ‘nose to tail’ dinner which I booked but had to cancel), who actually serves Pork snout in his restaurant.
I always loved Ham and Pork and would indeed eat it, especially Chinese style or Japanese. However I never really embarked on cooking Pork at home until the food blog internet hit my house.
I did start, slowly. First with chops, then with sirloin; for sure chopped Pork hamburgers and pot stickers. This post is the first time I have ever made Braised Pork Belly and now, today, I understand why Pork Belly is so popular. If I were to get another tattoo and if I were a daredevil in my teens, having cooked this: perhaps it would be a pig. Perhaps not. But I understand it…I really do.
(I am trying to understand how and why one cooks an already cooked Ham for Christmas…the one I tried to do was far too salty)
When I first read Ken Oringer’s recipe after watching it on Ming Tsai’s cooking show, it seemed to be easy and it was. Very easy. However I didn’t do a mise-en-place and when it came to adding the sugar I did a double read. 2 cups of sugar seemed awfully much, considering the Coke had a lot of sugar in it, as well.
I did not stray from the recipe, fortunately. This is the one time I am glad I did not follow instinct and reduce anything. The sauce, after I boiled it down to a caramel, was a sweet perfection and that hint of preserved lemon and that taste of caramel was a song and a dance on my tongue.
That preserved lemon was brilliant. Ken, it was brilliant and for all the recipes I read on the net yours was the only one to have preserved lemon.
First I plated it as a piece of pork belly with that beautiful sauce. Then, I wanted to try a pulled pork sandwich and plate it and photograph it. Then I ate it.
Only one thing I need a question for and that is “what do I do with the beautiful soft luscious flat piece of Pork fat that came off the center of my pork belly?” It seems sacrilegious to toss it.
“Toss it?” was the incredulous response I got from my friend on the other end of Alexander Graham Bell’s invention…”My dear, that is the essence of why one eats Pork Belly; why else would it be called Belly“?
So came the education of what a Pork Belly is.
This is taken from the Ming.com website.
Ken Oringer’s Lacquered Pork Belly With Preserved Lemon, Soy Sake Glaze
1 12-inch x 8-inch piece pork belly
1 cup preserved lemon
1 cup Wanjashan soy sauce
2 cups sake
2 cups Coca Cola
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seed
Steamed white rice, for serving
Place all ingredients in large saucepot. Bring to boil and simmer gently for 3 hours until pork belly is soft when poked with meat fork. Remove the belly and reduce sauce to a light glaze. Glaze top of belly. Serve with steamed white rice.