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