Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pigs get fat Hogs go to slaughter

Not until recently has the mighty pig become such a prized piece of culinary love. Or has it? Our early settlers relied on this beast for more than just bacon, chops, roast, spare ribs, and sausage. Head cheeses, kidneys, salt pork, smoked jowl, tail, livers and the celebrated feet smoked boiled or braised. Nose to ass hole they say....then the added supreme conponent to baking....rendering the fat into lard, a pure fat only second to butter in delicacy and flake was used in pasteries, breads and cakes. Today on the farm and kitchens in the know are using this perfect white lump of piggy perfection, even the Gastro Turds are slow to recognize there is far more to this animal than bacon. ( I say cooking with bacon is like fishing with dynomite) Either way pork continues to be the most consumed meat in the US.
Smoking meats was to preserve them has meant more to the humans through the ages than any other method of preserving. This discovery is just as important as the discovery of how to make wine, cheeses and bread. It is said the GAULS discovered the HAM process, but way way before the Gauls the Chinese were preparing hams just like you would find in Virginia today? Hmmm. Once agian claims of doing it first with out doing the research. Then again smoking took on a fever pitch in Smithfield Virgina like the pork of York  England,the Parma procuitto, the Bayonne ham from the Basque and the Ardennes ham from Belgium. Pig gone wild.
I lost my train of thought I will return. Scapple anyone?

 "Get in maaa BELLY"
4lb pork belly from your local butcher such as EL SALICHERO(Santa Cruz Ca)
sea salt, keep salt pig handy
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
4 bulbs of fennel, cut into sixths, herby tops removed and reserved
1/2 C brown sugar.
a small bunch of thyme, leaves removed
5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
olive oil
1 750 ml bottle of wine a good white Burgundy would be lovely for pig and cook. Wink
Preheat the oven to its maximum temperature.
Using an extremely sharp knife, score the skin of the pork belly in deep vertical lines. Try to get them as close together as possible and as parallel as possible.
Crush the fennel seeds and 1 tablespoon of sea salt and b sugar with your mortar n pestal until you have a fine powder. Massage this powder into the skin.
In a roasting pan toss the fresh fennel, thyme, garlic, olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Place the pork belly (skin side up) on top.

Put the pan in the preheated oven. After 10 minutes turn the heat down to 325 degrees and roast the pork for a further hour.
After 1 hour at 325 degrees, remove the pan from the oven and drain off the fat and save for fryin up some taters.... Add the white wine and stir.
Put the pan back in the oven for another hour.
Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the fennel from the pan using a slotted spoon. Keep it warm.
Put the pork back into the oven for a further hour until the skin is golden and crisp. If the wine starts to evaporate during this time, add a splash more wine, or a splash of stock.(I like mushroom for this dish)
Allow the pork to rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes.Go have a Bourbon while you wait, makes time go by quicker.
You know you've done good if the skin is crispy,carmalized and practically winking at you, the belly itself should be spreadable not meat jello. Save those pan drippings reduce by a third add a pat of (my raw milk sweet cream cultured) butter for a heavenly sauce to drizzle over this piggy delight. Fry up some fingerlings in the pork fat reserve . Pop open a bottle of Kabinett(needs the acid to balance) and break into some crusty bread and a dollup of Stone fruit Chutney....ohhh Sweet Cheesus we have a party in our mouth.
That my friends and countrymen is how you do Pork Belly ........mama loves you


Mike said...

My God, this sounds good!

smoking whisk said...

get on it son go get all Belly tonight....