January 23, 2012

Dark Days Pork Belly with Chestnuts

If you are a fan of food media you couldn't have missed the adoration that has been heaped upon pork belly in the last few years.  So when I made bacon this fall, with the half hog I purchased from Bare Knuckle Farms, I saved the trim pieces from my whole pork belly to cook on their own.  I had planned on trying David Chang's Pork Belly but it and most of the other recipes for pork belly rely on sugar and often soy sauce for flavor and I am avoiding both for January.  A little more searching brought me to this recipe for Braised Pork Belly.  I loved the sound of the fennel and allspice rub and the fact that it didn't call for any sugar.  I replaced the white wine with Black Star Farms verjus since I'm also avoiding all alcohol and adjusted the spices for the braising liquid somewhat.  After the braising was done I knew some sweetness was needed so I dug out some locally grown boiled chestnuts.  I sliced up the braised meat and broiled it just a little with the chestnuts.  They were wonderful together- sweet, rich, and spicy!   For something green to go with this meal I stir fried pac choi  from my winter 9 Bean Rows' CSA share with local garlic, organic fresh ginger, Eden Foods toasted sesame oil and a few black sesame seeds.  A great meal but I still feel like pork belly is best served as bacon.  Nothing beats bacon!
Visit Not Dabbling In Normal on Sundays for the round up of Dark Days meals. You can also visit our coordinator at Unearthing this Life to see some of our Midwest group entres.