Braised “Fresh Bacon”

Fresh pork belly is pan-seared, then braised until tender in a rich stock with fresh herbs and vegetables..

Braised Braised Fresh Bacon

Serves 2 (adapted from a recipe by Tom Colicchio)

2 6-7 oz pieces fresh, skin-on pork belly, at least 2 inches thick
2 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons unroasted organic peanut oil
1 stalk celery plus a little extra, sliced
1 small carrot plus a little extra, sliced
1 large green bulb onion plus a little extra, chopped
1/4 cup arugula chiffonade
1 teaspoon dried red tomatoes, crumbled
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon savory
1 teaspoon raw cider vinegar
coarse sea salt
smoked black pepper

thick slices of wild yeast sourdough
homemade coarse mustard
raw cheddar cheese
fresh rosemary

Heat the oil in a large small skillet over medium heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper and put in the skillet fat side down. Cook until the skin is browned (about 15 minutes), then transfer to a plate.

Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of fat and add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the skillet. Cook until the vegetables are tender and slightly brown, about 20 minutes.

Return the pork belly to the skillet, fat side up, and add about 1 1/2 cups of stock (it should surround but not cover the meat). Bring the stock to a simmer, then transfer the skillet to a 350 degree oven. Gently simmer the pork, uncovered, for 1 hour, then add another 1/2 cup of stock. Continue cooking until tender, about 1 hour longer.

Allow the pork to cool in the braising liquid. Remove the pork from the liquid, then gently lift off and discard the skin. Score the fat, making a crosshatch pattern.

Turn up the oven to 400°F. Strain the braising liquid, discarding the solids. Return the liquid to the skillet, bring it to a simmer, and skim off the fat. Return pork, fat side up, to the skillet. Add vinegar, dried tomatoes, herbs and freshly chopped vegetables, then transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the pork is heated through and the fat nicely browned, about 20 minutes.  Add arugula and serve hot with thick slices of toasted sourdough thinly-spread with coarse mustard and topped with melted asiago or raw cheddar cheese and fresh rosemary.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays

Spanish Chicken and Rice with Roasted Vegetables, Butifarra, Morcilla and Chorizo

Pastured chicken pieces are roasted with winter vegetables then baked with stock-soaked bomba rice with saffron, garlic, fire-roasted tomatoes, piquillo peppers and butifarra, morcilla and chorizo sausages..

Spanish Chicken and Rice with Roasted Vegetables, Butifarra, Morcilla and Chorizo

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds chicken pieces
1 large carrot, oblique-cut
1 leek, split, rinsed and sliced
1-2 bulb onions, sliced
6 cloves whole, unpeeled garlic
1 tablespoon pastured butter
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup filtered water
3/4 cup fire-roasted tomatoes
3-4 piquillo peppers, chopped
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
1 cup bomba rice, rinsed
1 quart homemade chicken stock, divided
saffron threads, crushed
1/3 pound morcilla (blood sausage), sliced
1/3 pound butifarra (white garlic sausage), sliced
1/3 pound Spanish cooking chorizo, cubed
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.  Stir in paprika, then add chicken and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper, add water then roast in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and add carrot, leek, onion and garlic and put back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, begin cooking rice in chicken stock with saffron threads.

Remove pan from the oven and transfer chicken and garlic to a cutting board and allow to cool enough to be handled.  Transfer the vegetables and cooking liquid to a Dutch oven. Add in rice and stir to combine.

Briefly sauté the sausage then add to the pot with vegetables and rice.  Stir in fire-roasted tomatoes.

Peel and chop the garlic.  Pull the chicken meat from the bones and tear into chunks. Add to the pot with the vegetables and pour in 1 cup of chicken stock.  Cook uncovered until most of the stock has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven, and parsley and piquillo peppers and allow to stand 10 minutes.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary and serve hot.

Red Chili Grits

Stone-ground corn grits simmered in chicken stock with green onions and ancho puree, served with pork belly and fried eggs..

Red Chili Grits with Pork Belly and Fried Eggs

Serves 3-4  (adapted from a recipe by Taylor Ranch)

For the Grits

3 cups homemade chicken stock
1/4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
3/4 cup organic, stone-ground coarse corn grits
1/4 cup ancho puree
2 tablespoons pastured butter
3/4 cup raw milk cheddar, grated, divided

Bring the stock to a boil, then add onion, garlic and salt & pepper.  Slowly whisk in the grits and simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Stir in the ancho puree, butter and half of the cheese.  Spoon onto serving plate and top with additional cheese, onions and a dollop of ancho puree. Serve with fried eggs and pork belly.

For the Ancho Puree (makes 3/4 cup)

1 cup filtered water
3 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 2 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and allow to steep 20 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth.

Santa Fe Hot Pot

Human occupation of New Mexico stretches back at least 11,000 years to the Clovis culture of hunter-gatherers, who left evidence of their campsites and stone tools. After the invention of agriculture the land was inhabited by the Ancient Pueblo Peoples who built houses out of stone or adobe bricks. They experienced a Golden Age around AD 1000 but climate change led to migration and cultural evolution into the modern Pueblo peoples who lived primarily along the few major rivers of the region. (Wikipedia)

A contemporary New Mexican-style pork stew with dried beans, toasted chilies, onions, peppers, onions and sweet potatoes with cinnamon, cloves, green garlic, cumin and corn flour..

Santa Fe Hot Pot

Serves 2

1/3 cup mixed dried heirloom beans such as yellow Indian woman, tepary, pinquito & black
4 cups chicken stock, divided
1/2 pound braised feral hog (substitute leftover pork belly or pork shoulder roast), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons leaf lard (substitute bacon grease)
1/4 cup mild chili powder
2 dried New Mexico chilies, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground cloves
1 large tomatillo, husked, rinsed and chopped
2 red Fresno chilies, sliced
1/2 Spanish onion, chopped
1/4 cup poblano pepper, chopped
1 bulb green garlic, including leaves, chopped
1/3 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon smoked black pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon corn flour (not corn meal)
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Rinse, pick over and soak a variety of dried beans overnight. Place in a pot with 2 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, about 1 hour.

Heat lard in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add diced sweet potatoes and cook until browned along the edges and somewhat tender.  Add onions, fresh and dried chilies, peppers and green garlic and sauté until softened.

Add tomatillo, pork, beans, stock, pork, chili powder, paprika, cinnamon and cloves, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.  Add corn flour, stir and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Ladle into bowls and serve with wedges of lime and corn chips or cornbread.

This post is part of the Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday!

Traditional Maryland Fried Chicken, Cream Gravy

While the exact origin of Maryland Fried Chicken isn’t known for certain, a dish by this name did show up on the menu of New York’s Grand Union Hotel as early as 1878..

Traditional Maryland Fried Chicken

Traditional Maryland Fried Chicken

Serves 2-4 depending on appetite and accompaniments

1 whole pastured frying chicken, cut up
3 cups fresh whole milk plus the juice of 1 fresh lemon

2 cups sprouted wheat flour
1 tablespoon freshly-ground pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme, oregano and basil

4 oz ghee or clarified, pastured butter
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup fresh cream
1 cup chicken stock

fresh parsley, chopped

Wash chicken and place in a non-reactive bowl.  Pour in enough milk to cover then refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Combine flour, pepper, salt, paprika and dried herbs in a bowl.  Lift a piece of chicken with one hand, let the milk run off, then place into the flour mixture.  Use the other hand to coat the chicken and place onto a plate.  Repeat until all the chicken has been lightly but thoroughly dredged.

Heat the butter in a high-walled iron skillet over medium heat to about 325-330 degrees (this is why you need a fat such as clarified butter with a high smoke-point), then carefully place the chicken in the pan, working in batches if necessary.  Don’t crowd the pan too much.  Turning as little as possible, cook until well browned on all sides.  Transfer chicken to a heat-proof dish and finish in a 275 degree oven while you make the gravy (assuming another 15 minutes or so).

Add the onion and garlic to the pan that the chicken was cooked in and fry until golden.  Scrape up the brown bits with the side of a wooden spoon, then whisk in enough of the remaining seasoned flour to form a thick paste (roux).  Stirring continuously, cook until the flour is no longer raw, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, heat cream and chicken stock just to the boiling point.  Whisk in roux and cook until gravy has thickened.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

The chicken may be served with the gravy over the top or on the side, as you prefer.

This post is part of The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Thursday