I’ve been on a bit of a pork kick, recently, so when I found out about a new butcher that had recently opened up nearby, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. When I ate at Morimoto last year, one of the amazing dishes I ordered was a slow-braised pork belly served with a rice porridge… Marc of No Recipes had recently posted a great video about about black braised belly as well. Obviously, I needed to do something featuring the same, wonderful cut of pig.
The butcher sold me a cut of belly, and since it was so large I decided to prepare it two different ways — since belly is generally cooked slowly, I’d have plenty of time to intersperse the two dishes and their related accompaniments. It would be an all-day project.
Pork belly is a really fatty, flavorful cut — it’s the same place on the pig that bacon comes from, in fact. The difference is that most bacon you find in the stores has been cured and then smoked or seasoned, et cetera. You can find “fresh bacon” in some stores, but even that has still undergone an initial curing process. I decided I would roast half of the meat, and braise the other half. By doing the roasting first, and then chilling it, I could make what is called “pressed pork,” and the chilling time would allow me to braise the other half of the belly and do a lot of the prep work for the other dishes — a cranberry chutney, turnip puree, and a really simple apple salad.