Crispy Braised Pork Belly Sandwiches

img_1147What the heck.   A crispy pork belly sandwich is always a hit.  It’s just one of that appetizers that don’t pop up often and people really enjoy them.  This requires a little prep work but it is pretty much cooks itself.

Ingredients 

  • 1 3 pound slab if pork belly, center cut, skin left on
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 celery stocks, cut diagonally into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 fennel bulb, core removed
  • 1 small garlic bulb, cut down the center
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and rough chopped
  • 8 sprigs off fresh thyme, plus 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, with the stem removed and finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus 1/2 teaspoon of fresh rosemary leaves, with the stem removed and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups of a dry white wine
  • 5 cups of chicken stock, that has been heated and two chicken bouillons dissolved in  the stock
  • 1 tablespoon of peppercorns
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves
  • 1 orange, unpeeled cut in half then sliced in two inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • Soft mini rolls

Making It

  • 12 hours in advance of cooking, take the pork belly and score the skin with a sharp knife creating a criss cross of cuts every half inch, rub in the sugar and salt, cover and refrigerate for no more than 12 hours 
  • Turn the oven to 325 degrees
  • Take a dutch oven and put over medium-high heat, drizzle two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, let the oil get very hot and add 1 teaspoon of chopped thyme leaves, 1/2 teaspoon of chopped rosemary leaves, let them crackle for a minute, then add the pork belly skin side down for 6-8 minutes until properly seared, remove and set aside
  • Turn the flame to medium and add the red pepper flakes, carrots, celery, fennel, garlic, onions, thyme & rosemary sprigs and sauté for 10-12 minutes, until the onions are translucent
  • Stir in the flour and let cook for 1 minute then add the white wine and let cook down by half, add the chicken stock, peppercorns, bayleaves, orange and pepper
  • Return the pork belly to the pot skin side up, the liquid should go to the top of the meat but not cover the skin.  You might have to push some veggies to the side so the meat if fully covers then bring to a boil
  • Cover the dutch oven, put in oven and cook for two hours, remove the lid and cook for another hour, remove the pork and set aside, cutting into 1 1/2 inch squares
  • Strain all the solids, return the braising juices to sauce pan and reduce by 1/3 over medium-high heat, whisk in the flour to make the braising gravy
  • Toast or grill the rolls
  • In a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, sear each side of the pork belly to crisp it up, put on the roll, top with the gravy and serve


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