It started with a bottle of Brunello
and my recent hobby, obsession, passion of making things with pork belly.
A friend replied to a photo I posted of the final product.
|The final product|
The friends' response to the photo was "I've never had pork belly."
To which we replied: "If you've ever had bacon, pancetta, or choucroute garnie, you've had pork belly."
At this very moment I have pork belly curing to make pancetta, (Italian bacon) and smoked brown sugar bacon with a hint of Spanish smoked paprika.
But let's get back to that dinner last night, shall we?
9:30 yesterday morning, Lexie made a simple rub of salt, pepper and oil. She coated the 2 pound pork belly (I had cut off the other 4 pounds to make bacon, more about that another time) with the rub, wrapped that belly up in foil and placed it on a sheet pan. Into a preheated oven, a mere 250 degrees, for 5 hours it went.
We then talked about the accompaniments for the dinner:
- A white bean ragout made from Cannellini beans, artichoke hearts, and Yukon gold potatoes.
- Fried Brussels sprout leaves.
- Sautéed broccoli rabe.
7:00 p.m. Heat up that fryer, separate the leaves of the Brussels sprouts, toss them with some Cheatin' Wheat (gluten free flour blend from Lexie's bakery: The Last Crumb Bakery, shameless plug number one) and salt.
Fry up those leaves in 360 degree oil, sprinkle a bit more salt and try to keep the husbands away from the tasty, crispy morsels of sprout goodness.
7:20 p.m. We're going to heat up a cast iron pan to sear off the roasted pork belly. But wait, there is that hot oil in the fryer. "HMMM" we say to ourselves.
We try a little piece of the roasted belly in the fryer. Crap that's good.
|Roasted pork belly with fried Brussels sprouts in the background.|
Let's do it!
A few minutes in the fryer and voila.
Lexie made a beautiful ragout my sautéing some onions, adding the potatoes which she had sliced, then adding two cans of Cannellini beans, one she had pureed, then some artichoke hearts, then some salt and pepper.
The broccoli rabe (a favorite of mine) was first blanched then chopped then sautéed in a bit of garlic which had been heated up in a bit of the pork fat rendered from the roasted belly. I tossed the sautéed rabe with a bit of preserved lemon, some garlic infused olive oil from Kristos Olive Oil in Arvada (shameless plug number two for a great shop in Old Town Arvada).
The wine was poured and we were very happy campers.
The next day?
Massive bike ride.