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Asian Style Braised Pork Belly

Try this dish. It is very delicious, tender and fabulous. Chilled Beaujolais is delicious with it and I also think a nice, crisp Gewurztraminer would be a natural.

2 slabs of pork belly, approx. 2 ½ lbs. each
2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice
1 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup minced garlic
1/2 cup minced ginger
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup minced green onion—white part only
1/4 cup sambal oelek or Chinese chili garlic sauce
3 cups chicken stock

Place pork bellies in large plastic bags, mix all ingredients except chicken stock and pour into bag. Seal, place in bowl and refrigerate to cure overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove pork from bag and allow to come to room temperature over one hour. Place pork bellies skin side down in large, non-reactive, rectangular, high sided roasting pan. Pour marinade and 3 cups of chicken stock over pork and roast for one hour. Turn pork over and roast 1 ½-2 hours more until tender. Remove pork from pan and using very sharp long knife remove skin from bellies. You also may want to remove at this point what some may consider excess fat, but leave enough to brown and caramelize in the final step. Return pork to liquid and let cool 1 ½ hours. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate pork in its bath for 6 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

One hour before serving, de-fat braising liquid, remove pork bellies and score their fatty side. Return to pan and roast for 20-25 minutes until fat is slightly caramelized and meat is warmed through. If poaching liquid covers the fat, it won’t caramelize, so you will need to remove some liquid. If there is so little liquid left that the majority of the pork belly is sticking out of the juice, add a cup or two of chicken stock. If the fat fails to brown, turn on the broiler at the end for 5 minutes. Remove 2 cups of the braising liquid and reduce over high heat to the consistency of maple syrup to add as a sauce when serving.

The poaching liquid is terrific for pan steaming bok choi as an accompaniment.

Bon Appétit!

N.B.:  This recipe is largely that of Emeril Lagasse’s recipe that is available on the internet, with a few minor improvements on my part.