Braised Pork Belly
This is Kevin Kent’s (of Knifewear
) homage to Au Pied de Cochon
, Martin Picard’s Montreal restaurant that celebrates pork, foie gras and maple syrup. “ I like to think Picard would braise pork belly like this, though he would probably top it with a fat slice of seared foie gras.”
1 pork belly, 4 to 5 lbs
4 sliced onions
¾ c. white wine
15 garlic cloves
400 ml maple syrup (more than you might think is a good idea)
2 L chicken stock (or enough to cover 90% of the meat)
7 sprigs fresh thyme
4 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 300°F. Brown both sides of the belly in a bit of oil in the braising pan. Remove the meat and sweat (fry on low heat without browning) the onions ‘til softish. Deglaze the pan with wine and add the rest of the ingredients, including the pork belly. Add just enough stock to cover the meat partially. Bring to a simmer on the stove, cover and put into the oven.
Check for tenderness after 1½ hours. The belly is tender when a skewer easily slides through the meat. Braised meat should be tender but not falling apart. Serve with something mashed like potatoes or celeriac to soak up the lovely juices. Crusty bread is a good idea too. And a fat slice of seared foie gras might be just the pièce de résistance. Serves 4 to 6.