Then I came across Flying Pig Farm's tent. And I saw they had pork belly. And I couldn't stop imagining the fatty, rich, crispy meat. I had to have some. After picking up some baby bok choy (it looked so pretty piled up!), some garlic scapes (which I did use last summer for the first time), dill (which I have also used before ;) ), and these gorgeous little sunflower sprouts (nutty, earthy, and crisp) the meal just seemed to form itself immediately in my brain. I love it when a meal comes together like this! And luckily the heat held off so my kitchen wasn't too unbearably hot to leave the oven going for a couple of hours.
The portions aren't huge, but this meal is so rich that you don't need a lot--although it tastes so good that you may be begging for more.
You can remove the skin from the pork belly, if you must, but don't cut off the fat--what's the point (and what's left over??)? If you do not like pork fat #1: I judge you ;) and #2: don't eat pork belly!
1 (1.3lb) pork belly
1 TB sea salt
1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
1 t. dried onion flakes
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cardamom
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. paprika
2 TBS cooking oil
2 TBS cooking oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
10 garlic scapes, chopped
3/4 bottle of wine (I used Las Rocas Garnacha)
Mix together salt, pepper, dried onion, garlic powder, chili, cardamom, cumin, cayenne and paprika. Rub all over the pork belly and allow to sit in the refridgerator for at least 2 hours. Take the pork belly out and let it sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes before beginning to cook.
Preheat oven to 350.
Heat oil in a dutch oven on the stove over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the pork belly and sear on all sides, about 2-4 minutes per side. Once finished, remove the pork belly to a plate. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and garlic scapes to the dutch oven and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Add about a cup of the red wine to the pot and scrape up any bits that are stuck to the bottom. Return the pork belly to the pan with all of the vegetables, then use the remaining wine to almost cover the pork belly. Bring the wine to a boil, cover the pot with a lid or foil, and transfer to the hot oven.
Cook the meat until it is fork tender (a fork will be able to pull the meat apart). This could take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours (mine ended up taking about 1 hour 45 minutes). Remove the pork belly to a plate and allow to sit for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve on top of the caramelized bok choy and top off with the sunflower sprouts.
Caramelized Bok Choy
2 heads of baby bok choy (1 large regular bok choy would work as well)
3 TB cooking oil
2 TB brown sugar
3 TB fresh dill, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Separate the green parts of the bok choy from the white parts. Chop each (keeping them separate) into long shreds about 1/2 inch thick.
Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Once warm, add the white parts of the bok choy and cook until these become fairly tender, about 10 minutes. Add the green parts of the bok choy and stir to coat in the oil. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, then sprinkle on the brown sugar. Allow the bok choy to cook some of it begins to turn brown, stirring occasionally, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the dill and salt and pepper to taste.
Sunflower Sprouts in Ginger Lime Dressing
1 c. sunflower sprouts
1 t. ginger powder
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/4 t. chili powder
1/3 c. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Mix together ginger powder, lime juice, chili powder, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Toss with the sunflower sprouts and serve on top of the braised pork belly.