Funder’s red-braised pork belly

I am more of a consumer of recipes than a creator, but this one. Yall, it’s so good. And I’ve tweaked it into something different enough from its source – I feel like it’s adding something to the English-language body of cooking knowledge to put this online.

I started with this, from le jus d’orange. But that’s not the world’s clearest recipe, and while the finished product tasted amazing, it really wasn’t tender at all. I made it a second time, simmering the meat even longer, and it was better, but it still wasn’t as good as pork belly I’ve had in restaurants. I started over, and here’s what I came up with.

You will probably need to make a trip to an Asian market, or an “ethnic” market with an Asian section, for the double black soy (or something that says dark soy sauce will also work) and shaoxing cooking wine. Get a handful of whole star anise while you’re there, or get it at Whole Foods with the pork belly.


Funder’s Red Braised Pork Belly

FEEDS SIX PEOPLE

Ingredients

2 lb. pork belly (if your usual grocery doesn’t have it, try Whole Foods)

about 2″ ginger, roughly chopped

1/4 c. soy sauce (I used Kikkoman – any “normal” soy sauce will do)

1/4 c. double black soy sauce

1/4 c. shaoxing cooking wine

3 whole star anise

3 Tbsp. brown sugar, plus 2 Tbsp for browning

1 1/2 c. water

If your pork is frozen, let it thaw overnight. You can cut the skin off if you want, but the finished dish is so tender you really won’t know if the skin is there or not. Cut the pork into strips so it will fit in the cooking dish better. I cut mine into knife-blade-widths, which ended up being about 1 3/4″. Put it in a crock-pot or a braising dish. Add the ginger, soys, cooking wine, star anise, 3 Tbsp brown sugar, and water. Your cooking liquid should mostly cover your strips of pork; add more water if it doesn’t.

Braise til very tender, about three hours. Crock pot on high, stovetop on low, or oven at 325 should all work as long as your dish is covered.

When the fatty part of the meat is meltingly tender, carefully transfer the meat to a covered dish. Strain the cooking liquid in there, let it cool for a while, and put it in the fridge overnight.

The next day, make rice. We are really fond of sushi rice, but basmati rice is okay too I guess. When your rice is almost done, get the pork out. Pry off the enormous layer of congealed fat and discard, or save it for heavenly roasted potatoes or something. Pull out however much pork you need. Cut it into bite-size slices – I sliced mine into 1/4″ strips. The cooking liquid will be congealed; scrape it all off the pork and melt it and strain it to go with the rice.

When your rice is ready, get a NONSTICK skillet or wok REALLY HOT and drop the slices of cold pork belly in. Sear them til they’re crispy, flip them over very carefully, and sprinkle the last 1-2 Tbsp brown sugar on top. Sear the other side and the sugar should be melted into gooey caramel. Serve on rice with sauce spooned over.

Tasty accompaniments: roasted brussels sprouts and Black Tuesday. Life is short; diet tomorrow.

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2 thoughts on “Funder’s red-braised pork belly

  1. Thank you! Pork belly is one of my favourite things. And it’s autumn here, with rain, wind and leaves blowing around outside. Perfect for good braised food.

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