This came about as part of my recent effort to use up the “odder” bits in the freezer before we get our next side of beef in a couple of months and our next hog shortly afterwards.
If you’ve been hanging around here for any amount of time at all, you know that I love me some pork belly and some Asian food. Recently I found the recipe for Char Siu – Chinese Barbecued Pork – on Foodgawker and was immediately smitten. An Asian recipe for pork belly? Count me in!
Of course, I tweaked the recipe to make it more suitable for my diet (I really need to learn to make my own hoisin sauce) but the recipe is essentially the same. The biggest change is the marinade time – the original recipe calls for 2 to 3 hours, but it really should go for 4 or more. I marinated mine for 8, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it overnight. It’s just going to make it all the more tasty.
In the interest of transparency, this was not Beloved or The Young One’s favorite pork belly recipe, although they certainly didn’t turn it down. I, on the other hand, loved it and would gladly eat it again.
This is extremely rich, so I served it as an appetizer.
Honey Roasted Pork Belly
Serves: 4 to 6
1 pound pork belly, skin removed
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
2 tablespoons honey
In a small bowl, whisk together the rice wine, tamari, coconut sugar, garlic powder and Chinese five-spice. Place the pork belly in a large, resealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Press out as much air as you can and seal the bag. Turn several times to coat the pork and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Remove the pork belly from the plastic bag, allowing the excess marinade to drain off (discard the marinade); place the pork in an oven safe dish just large enough to hold it. Brush the top with one tablespoon of the honey.
Roast the pork for about 45 minutes to an hour, turning it halfway through; brush with the remaining honey. The pork is done when the outsides begin to crisp and turn dark brown and the center of the meat feels firm.
Remove the pork from oven and allow it to rest, loosely covered, for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into slices; arrange on a platter and serve.
Not too long ago, we decided to buy a FoodSaver vacuum system – mainly because our pastured chickens just come to us in plastic bags. This is mostly an issue because our poultry farmer only raises broilers during the summer – we buy the chickens six at a time and keep them in the freezer to have all year long (he processes the birds six times over the course of the summer months, so that’s 36 chickens, all told). Buy the time spring rolled around earlier this year, the last couple of chickens were showing signs of minor freezer burn.
So, we got the FoodSaver. What we didn’t realize when we bought it (via Amazon) was that it came with several plastic containers along with the bags. One is specifically for marinating; faced with a small pork loin roast with which I had no idea what to do, I cut it into chops and decided to use the marinating container to, well, marinate.
There was apple juice leftover from the company picnic, spicy brown mustard in the fridge and fresh rosemary in the herb garden. I whisked it all together, seasoned the chops with salt and pepper, popped them in the container, poured in the marinade, slapped on the lid, attached the hose, and sucked all the air out for 20 minutes. (Well, it’s a little more complicated than that, but you get the idea). Then I pan-fried those puppies up to a nice medium – and you know what? They were really good. Both Beloved and The Young One went back for seconds.
Winner, winner, pork chop dinner.
Note: I realize not everyone has access to a vacuum thingie, so the recipe gives a more standard marinade instruction. If you don’t eat pork, this would be really nice with chicken.
Apple Mustard Pork Chops
6 boneless pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 cup apple juice
1 1/2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary finely chopped
2 tablespoons lard or other cooking fat
Rub the pork chops with salt and pepper; set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together the apple juice, mustard and rosemary until well-blended. Place the pork chops in a heavy, re-sealable gallon plastic bag and pour the marinade over them. Squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag and seal; marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours.
Bring the pork chops to room temperature. Melt the lard in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Remove the chops from the bag; discard the marinade.
Sear the pork chops until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Lower the temperature to medium-low; cover and continue to cook until the pork chops reach an internal temperature of 145 F, about 7 minutes. Remove the chops from the skillet; cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.