PORK BELLY RECIPES
CRISP PORK BELLY ON CHEDDAR CRACKERS
2 to 3 pounds fresh pork belly
4 tablespoons kosher salt
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1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
About 3 to 4 cups apple juice or fresh apple cider
1 to 2 cups chicken stock or water
Cheddar-mustard crackers (see recipe)
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Mix the salt, sugar, pepper, ginger, garlic, rosemary, thyme and sage. Rub all over the pork belly, coating it well. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Unwrap the pork and rinse off the seasoning mix, then dry with paper towels.
Place the sliced onions, carrots and celery in a roasting pan large enough to hold the pork. Add enough apple juice or cider to come halfway up the pork. Add enough stock or water to come 3/4 of the way up the meat. Cover the meat with parchment paper, then cover the pan tightly with heavy duty foil and a lid.
Place in the oven and cook about 6 hours, or until very tender. Line a jellyroll pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper. Carefully remove the pork belly from the cooking liquid, lifting from the bottom with a couple of spatulas so it doesn’t fall apart. Place it on the paper-lined pan, and place another sheet of parchment on top. Place another pan on top, then weigh it down with several pounds (such as heavy cans).
Refrigerate overnight. (The cooking liquid can be strained and used for another recipe, such as soup.) Remove from refrigerator, remove weights and peel off the paper. (Can be made to this point up to 4 days ahead. Refrigerate until ready to serve.)
Slice the firm pork belly into 1-by-2-inch cubes. Place in a skillet over medium-high heat and sear, turning carefully with tongs, until browned and crisped on all sides. Serve on a cheddar cracker with a dab of jam.
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 pound sharp cheddar, coarsely grated (preferably in a food processor; 5 cups)
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1/4 cup brown or yellow mustard seeds (we reduced to 2 tablespoons, which worked fine)
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
Makes about 4 dozen.
Blend butter, cheese and egg yolk in a food processor until smooth. Add mustards, salt and flour and pulse just until combined. Transfer the soft dough to a bowl. Cover and chill 15 minutes.
Halve the dough and shape each half into a 12-inch log on a lightly floured surface. Wrap in wax paper and foil, chill until firm, at least 4 hours. (Dough can be frozen for several months. Defrost in the refrigerator before slicing.)
Place oven racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or nonstick baking mat, such as Silpat). Unwrap logs and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices with a sharp knife. Place slices on baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
Bake until lightly brown around edges, switching position of pans halfway through baking, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a rack. Cool crackers and store in an airtight container.
TANGERINE-GLAZED PORK BELLY
4 to 5 pounds pork belly, cut into 5-by-3-inch portions
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled, halved and sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 cups tangerine juice, divided (8 to 10 tangerines, or use navel oranges, or a combination of oranges and tangerines)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice (or 1 teaspoon ground)
3/4 cup sugar
Makes about 6 servings.
Heat broiler. Using a large knife, score the fat side of the belly diagonally, and season with salt and pepper on all sides. Place the onion, carrots and celery in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Place the pork belly, scored side up, on top of the vegetables. Broil until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Turn meat-side up and broil 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees. Turn pork scored-side up and add chicken stock, 2 cups tangerine juice, brown sugar, thyme, cloves and allspice, stirring around the pan to combine. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake 2 hours. Fold back the foil to create a vent and bake 2 hours longer, or until the meat is very tender.
Prepare the tangerine glaze while the meat is cooking: Using a fine wire-meshed sieve, strain pulp out of remaining 2 cups juice. Combine juice and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle boil and cook until the glaze is thick and syrupy, 30 to 40 minutes. (Watch carefully so it doesn’t boil over. The glaze should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.)
Remove pan from the oven and cool pork slightly in the braising liquid. (Can be made to this point several hours in advance and refrigerated in the braising liquid. Rewarm it about 30 minutes before continuing.)
Heat broiler. Remove the pork belly from the braising liquid and pat dry. Brush on all sides with the tangerine blaze. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil and broil 4 to 5 minutes, or until crispy around the edges and golden brown. Drizzle with remaining glaze and serve.
ROAST CHICKEN RECIPES
BASIC ROAST CHICKEN WITH ROSEMARY
7 branches fresh rosemary, divided
1 (3-pound) whole chicken
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt (preferably kosher), to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Yield: 6 servings
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop enough rosemary to make about 1 tablespoon, reserving remaining branches. Position 4 rosemary branches in single layer in shallow roasting pan just big enough to hold the chicken.
Wash chicken, including the cavity, with cold water. Dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper in cavity. Place garlic, chopped rosemary and lemon in cavity. Place chicken on top of rosemary branches in the baking pan. Drizzle olive oil over top of chicken. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and roast 60 minutes more. To check for doneness, press drumstick — it should feel tender and move easily in the socket. Or test with an instant-read thermometer: Stick thermometer stem into thickest part of thigh, just beneath but not touching the bone, reaching all the way down to the joint. It should read between 170 and 175 degrees.
Allow chicken to rest at room temperature 5 minutes before carving into serving pieces.
Meanwhile, if desired, make sauce: Combine balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until brown sugar dissolves.
Cut chicken into serving pieces. Arrange on platter. If desired, drizzle with balsamic vinegar mixture. Garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary.