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Pork Belly Confit Recipe. Easy, Sinful, Delicous!
Pork belly, you can cure it and smoke it and make bacon, or you can semi-cure it, cook it in lard ever so slowly, and make pork belly confit.
- Pork belly confit is good, so so good…but don’t tell your cardiologist.
Neither preparation qualifies as spa cuisine, but by cooking pork belly in pork fat, you’re getting pretty indulgent – I mean, how often can you compare two food choices and decide on bacon as the healthier choice?!?
Anyway, don’t eat pork belly confit everyday but do eat it once in a while. It’s worth making. You will be amazed.
To buy pork belly you will probably need to visit your friendly local butcher. Maker sure you get uncured (not smoked, not salted) fresh pork belly, and if possible, have your butcher slice off the rind (skin) for you.
Here is a recipe that I’ve adapted from Rhulman’s and Polcyn’s from their fantastic book, Charcuterie (a book that is a must have for anyone interested in the making of sausages, and hams and bacons and all that good stuff!)
Confit Pork Belly
- 3 pounds of fresh pork belly cut into 1 inch strips
- 1 Tbls of freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 Tbls of salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/3 tsp of ground cloves
- 2 bay leaves, mashed up
- 1/2 tsp of pink salt (sodium nitrite in salt mixture – used for preserving. Ask your butcher for this when you buy the pork belly, if she doesn’t have it, she’ll know who does.)
- White wine
- Lard (homemade is best) or duck fat – to cover
- Mix together the spices, salt, pink salt and herbs and rub all over the pork. Put the pork pieces in a bowl and add enough dry white wine to just cover them all, and then refrigerate to marinate the flavors for 24 hours.
- Take the pork out of the wine and dry off and transfer into a deep sided baking dish. Discard the wine.
- Preheat the oven to 250 and meanwhile, heat up enough lard or duck fat on the stove-top to cover the pork pieces completely in your baking dish. (The pork needs to be submerged completely in liquid fat while cooking. The amount of fat you’ll need depends on the size of your baking dish – between 2 and 4 cups, probably. You will need to heat it up to liquefy it.)
- Once you’ve got your pork pieces covered in liquid fat, heat your baking dish on the stove top, bringing the fat up to a bare simmer, and then transfer the baking dish to the oven.
- Cook the pork for 3 hours in the oven, uncovered, or until the pork is very tender.
- Take out of the oven and when it cools down slightly, refrigerate the whole thing, with the pork is still submerged under the fat, for at least a day before eating. (You can eat it right away, actually, but it tastes better if you wait until the next day)
- The next day, to serve, take out as many pork chunks as you need. Add a few good spoonfuls of the pork fat you’ve kept to a fry pan, and heat the pork pieces up over medium, getting them nice and crispy browned on the outside, and heated through on the inside.
- Serve pork belly confit with mustards and a leafy green salad with a tart vinaigrette.
You can actually keep this pork refrigerated under the solidified fat for weeks and weeks on end. Confit was originally used as a food preservation technique. If you do decide to keep it for a while, you should remove the juices from the fat.
Once you have cooled and refrigerated your pork confit, the fat will all rise to the top and the pork chunks will sit at the bottom of your pot with jellied meat juices. Take all the fat off, and then remove these jellied juices and discard them. Re-pack the pork into a storage container and cover completely with fat and re-refrigerate. Once you have done this, you can keep this safely in the fridge for a long long time (provided you have used the pink salt).
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