Cider-Braised Pork Belly

The Cider-Braised Pork Belly is influenced by the flavors of allspice, cinnamon, cloves, carrots, celery, onion and garlic. It features an apple glaze and a homemade sea salt. If you don't have access to the fresh sea water needed to make your own sea salt, you'll have to use a good quality sea salt to achieve similar results. You can also purchase seawater for cooking to make your own.

Cider-Braised Pork Belly

Prep Time

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Cook Time

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Serves

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This recipe for Cider-Braised Pork Belly comes from the recently published Community Table: Recipes for an Ecological Food Future. ©2018 powerHouse Books. By The Ecology Center.

The book is a celebration of seasons, farmers, chefs and an ecological food future.

The Cider-Braised Pork Belly is influenced by the flavors of allspice, cinnamon, cloves, carrots, celery, onion and garlic. It features an apple glaze and a homemade sea salt. If you don’t have access to the fresh sea water needed to make your own sea salt, you’ll have to use a good quality sea salt to achieve similar results. You can also purchase seawater for cooking to make your own.

The homemade sea salt is but one way this cookbook emphasizes using the freshest ingredients from nature and the influence they have on our food.

For other recipes from the cookbook, click here.

Ingredients

Pork Belly

  • 4 pounds pork belly, cut into 8-ounce pieces
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 12 whole allspice berries
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into eights
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

Apple Glaze

  • 1 gallon unfiltered organic apple juice
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Homemade Sea Salt

  • 1 gallon super clean sea water (check local beach quality reports or get a fisherman to get from open waters)

Preparation

Pork Belly

  • 1 Score the fat side of the pork belly 1/4-inch deep in a crosshatch pattern and season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • 2 Place pork belly in a medium pan, fat side down. Place the pan over medium heat and cook until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Turn and sear for an additional 8-10 minutes.
  • 3 Preheat convection oven to 300 degrees F. Bring the cider and the chicken stock to boil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Once boiled, remove from heat and add the cinnamon, allspice, cloves, carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Stir to combine and add the pork belly, fat side up. The liquid level should be just below the top of the pork belly. If not, remove some stock. Cover and bake for 3-1/2 hours. After that time, uncover and continue cooking for 30 minutes more.
  • 4 Remove the pork belly from the oven, discard the aromatics and save the braising liquid (chill and freeze for another use). Heat the apple glaze over medium heat and add the pork belly, two pieces at a time, turning with tongs to coat thoroughly with the glaze. Season with sea salt and serve.

Apple Glaze

  • 1 Combine all ingredients except lemon juice together in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat. Cook until large bubbles begin to form, then remove from heat.
  • 2 Add the lemon juice and stir. Cool to room temperature and hold until needed.
  • 3 Store in refrigerator for up to one week. Bring to room temperature before using.

Homemade Sea Salt

  • 1 Strain seawater through a coffee filter into a large stock pot. Bring the water to a boil then let cool.
  • 2 Next, pour water into a large rimmed pan and place into a super low temperature oven to start the drying process. Salt will start to form on the edges first. Thrun the oven off when this happens and let the pan cool in the oven. If you have a gas oven, just leave the pan inside. The pilot light will provide enough heat to finish.
  • 3 Be sure to move the salt with a fork until done to the desired texture. Remove from oven when cool, wrap the pan with cheesecloth and place in a sun-soaked window to finish the drying process.

To Serve

  • 1 Plate with apple glaze smeared beneath and on top of pork belly, then sprinkle with sea salt.

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