Sunday, July 24, 2016

Poached Pork Belly, Pan Grilled Mango with Rum Sauce over Grits


Made this up. As of July 23, 2016, the day that I made this (started brining two days earlier), it is, by far, the best pork belly dish I have ever made.

For the Pork Belly
Pork Belly – cross-hatched cut through fat, brined for 24 hours in ¾ gallon water with ¾ cup kosher salt
Onion, diced
Carrot, diced
Celery, diced
Herbs (star of anise, rosemary, thyme)
Apple juice (unfiltered)
Chicken stock
Splash of rum
Clarified butter

For the grits
¾ cups grits
3 cups liquid (2 cups milk, 1 cup apple juice)

For the Mango
Mango – cut in ¾ inch cubes
Small orange or red pepper – sliced into rings
Vermouth or dry white wine to deglaze pan

For the Rum Sauce
¼ cup dark rum
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt


For the Belly
Preheat oven to 250 F.

 Rinse and dry the belly.


Then season with salt and pepper. 

In a large enough casserole to hold the belly, pre-heat the pan and melt some clarified butter. Brown the belly.


Remove belly from the pan and set aside. Add onion, carrot, and celery to pot. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.


Add the garlic and herbs. Cook under aromatic.


Shake pan to get nice, even layer of mixture.


Lay pork belly on top of mixture and add liquids (apple juice, chicken stock, splash of rum) to cover belly completely. Place a weight on the belly to keep submerged.


Bring to boil. Turn off heat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and then place lid on pot.


Place in 250 F to poach for 7 hours.

Remove pot from oven and uncover. Let cool in pot for at least 15 minutes.

Take belly out of pot, carefully, and place on rack on pan.

 Broil belly to crisp up top, about 5 minutes.

Place and cutting board and slice into squares for serving.

For the Grits
Mix grits, liquid and some salt together. Cook in double boiler for 4 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Add liquid as necessary to make nice, creamy grits. Could add some cayenne if you like.

For the Mango
Heat pan and melt butter. Toss in mango and season with salt. Cook to caramelize, about 4 – 5 minutes. Deglaze pan if needed.

For Rum Sauce
Place all ingredients, except lime, in sauce pan. Bring to boil while stirring. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer for 4 minutes to reduce and thicken. Add lime juice.


Serve with grits on bottom, then belly, then mango/peppers. Drizzle sauce over.
I tried to figure out which wine would go best. Opened a Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley as well as a Texas Viognier from Pedernales Cellars. With the mango and lightness of it, I preferred:

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Braised Pork Shanks

Pork Shanks – brined the night before

Chopped onion
Chopped carrots
Chopped celery
Chopped garlic

Black Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Bay Leaves

Dry white wine
Chicken stock

 Sauce thickener

Preheat oven to 325 F.

 Dry the brined pork shanks and cut through the cracklings/fat in cross hatched pattern of about an inch.



Place some salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and flour in a plastic bag. Add the pork shanks. Shake to coat.


Heat some lard, oil, or bacon grease in a pot. Brown the shanks – takes about 10 minutes.



Remove the shanks. If any burnt flour in pan, wipe pan clean and add fresh oil.



Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic to pot along with some salt, pepper and other spices. Cook for about 8 minutes to soften.

Add about a cup of wine and four or so cups of chicken broth. Bring to boil.


Add shanks. Bring to boil again. 

Cover pot and place in 325 F oven. Turn shanks every 30 minutes. Total cooking time in over is about two and a half hours.

Remove shanks from pot – place on rack to pop back under broiler.

Drain liquid through fine mesh. Degrease liquid. Boil liquid down, reducing to about 1/3 or less. Add sauce thickener for gravy.

Pop shanks under broiler to crisp up cracklings.