Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cooking with Dr. Monkey

Today's episode: oven roasted pork belly.

I've seen on the various cooking shows roasted pork belly and lately I've been in an adventurous mood so I decided to try it myself.  I bought a little under two and a half pounds of pork belly at a local butcher shop and I went to work, after I thawed it out that is.  This recipe is a slight variation on the one from the River Cottage series of cookbooks.

I began by mixing my spices. I mixed, and lightly pounded, one tablespoon of sea salt, one tablespoon of coriander seed, one tablespoon of pink and Schezuan peppercorns, and one teaspoon of fennel seeds.

Next I got my meat out.  Then I pulled my pork, after which I put my pork belly on my glass cutting board.  If you think pork belly looks like uncut bacon, you're right, it does and that's because the belly is cured, or not, and sliced to make bacon.

I scored the skin of the belly lengthwise and cross wise and then I rubbed my spices into the slits.  Be warned, pork skin is very tough, so be prepared to use some force to score it.
I preheated my oven to 425 degrees and I cooked the pork belly for 30 minutes at that temp, then I turned it down to 350 and let it cook for another hour and fifteen minutes.  I then took it out of the oven and it looked like this:

The skin was super crispy, the fat was sizzlingly greasy but good, and the meat was tender as anything.  I let it rest for a long time before I served it along with steamed broccoli, and mashed potatoes with a tomato gravy.

The verdict: pork belly is fucking delicious.  However, it's so fatty that it's not something that I can eat very often, maybe once or twice a year.  I'll definitely make it again but next time I'll braise it, just because I can.  I'll cut off most of the fat and mince the leftover meat from this batch and make pork fried rice for supper tonight.  It should be outrageously good.


Brewella Deville said...

Drooling over here... Every once in a great while I buy some pork belly from the local Asian market and go crazy. Fortunately, a little goes a long way, and although I could eat the entire slab in one sitting it freezes well and we use small bits here and there like a condiment. I've usually braised it, but next time I'm going to roast it as you've done here. Love those crunchy bits.

gmb said...

Damn you, now I want some and it's 11:30 at night. It's on my short list to make. May have to pick up a piece soon.

gmb said...

Didn't get one this weekend, but next weekend a pork belly is calling my name. Bought some five-spice powder to rub in along with some garlic and it will be good to go.