If you’ve been reading here any length of time at all, you know I love me some pork belly – there are five different recipes on this blog that include it in some way or another.
Make that six.
I’ve been using the sous vide enough to make it a good investment, but haven’t really posted any recipes for it other than the Homemade Yogurt. The reasons for this are varied – it’s not a common household item, I’m not really crazy about the texture the sous vide gives very tender cuts of red meat, like beef tenderloin and venison backstrap (those should be simply cooked – broiled or grilled, really; the sous vide gives them a slightly mushy texture), the one time I made salmon in it I had the temp too high and over-cooked the fish.
Now, having said all that, I LOVE the way pork comes out of the sous vide (and you know how I feel about pork), and pork belly is no exception. And for all of my recipes for slow roasted pork belly and braised pork belly and glazed pork belly and crispy pork belly, I do believe this is the very best pork belly I’ve ever made. The sous vide made brining or curing the pork in advance unnecessary; the fat that didn’t render out was incredibly succulent and the meat was firm, yet juicy and tender. The coffee-peach glaze infused the cut with marvelous flavor – it was just delicious.
This does take a little planning – I wouldn’t suggest immersing the sealed pork belly in the sous vide for less than 24 hours, but once it’s there, you can pretty much walk away and forget all about it until you’re ready to finish it off, which takes less than 15 minutes.
I’m also not going to apologize for the use of the peach preserves – they were high quality, homemade preserves that contained nothing but peaches, pure cane sugar and pectin. And, because almost all of the glaze is poured off at the end, just a small fraction of that 1/3 of a cup remains in the entire recipe. In fact, the calorie, fat, carbohydrate and sugar counts included, as usual, with the recipe are probably overstated by quite a bit, since everything in the bag – rendered fat and the coffee-peach reduction – is discarded at the end.
If you don’t have a sous vide, try slow roasting the pork belly. Combine the preserves, coffee, honey, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a pan and heat them just enough to melt preserves, whisking the ingredients together, before seasoning with the red pepper flakes and salt. Place the pork belly in a gallon-size zip-lock plastic bag and pour the coffee-peach mixture over it. Seal and marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove the pork belly from the bag and place it in a small glass baking dish, just large enough to hold it, and pour the marinade over the top. Roast at 450 F for 30 minutes; reduce the heat to 325 F and continue roasting for 2 1/2 hours, basting the pork belly every 20 minutes or so with the liquid in the dish. Finish the dish as per the recipe below.
Click the image to enlarge
- 1 pound pork belly, skin removed
- 1/3 cup good quality peach preserves
- 1/2 cup strong coffee
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- salt, to taste
- hours in advance, fill the sous vide to the fill line with water and set the temperature for 160 F.
- Pat the pork belly dry and sprinkle liberally with salt. Slide it into a sous vide bag that's been sealed on one end and is about twice as long as the cut of meat. Set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan, combine the preserves, coffee, honey, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Stirring frequently, bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and, still stirring frequently, simmer until the mixture has reduced and is thick and syrupy. Allow the coffee/peach mixture to cool a bit, then season to taste with the red pepper flakes and salt.
- Carefully pour the syrup into the bag with the pork belly and seal - the bag should be long enough and the syrup thick enough that it isn't sucked out when the bag is sealed (you can use the "gentle" setting if the vacuum sealer has one).
- Place the sealed pork belly into the sous vide and cover. Cook for 24 hours.
- Remove the sealed bag from the sous vide. Carefully cut open the bag and remove the pork belly, placing it fat-side up on the top of a vented broiler pan - do not pat or wipe off any of the liquid clinging to the meat. Discard the liquid in the bag.
- Place the pork belly about 3 inches beneath the broiler of the oven and broil on high for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the top is crisp and browned. Remove from the oven and allow the pork belly to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Nutrition (per serving): 346 calories, 30.1g total fat, 40.8mg cholesterol, 31mg sodium, 134.6mg potassium, 13.7g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 10.8g sugar, 5.4g protein