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Diary of a Foodie

Slow-Roasted Pork Belly

Diary of a Foodie: Season One: Contraband Cuisine

Serves4 to 6
  • Active Time:30 min
  • Start to Finish:8 1/4 hr
ADAPTED FROM PAUL FLYNN OF THE TANNERY OF COUNTY WATERFORD, IRELAND
January 2007
  • 1 (4 1/2-lb) piece pork belly
  • 1/3 cup Irish poitin such as Bunratty's Potcheen (see cooks' note, below) or whiskey
  • 2 medium onions (1 lb total), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rings
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup hard cider (preferably Irish)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon gound cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • Remove rind from pork: Place pork belly, rind side down, on a large cutting board with a short side nearest you. Using a long slicing knife, make a cut deep enough to grip along length of short side between rind and fat. Hold rind with one hand and, holding knife at a 45-degree angle with other hand, cut pork belly off remaining rind, folding meat away from you as it becomes separated from rind. Discard pork rind.
  • Marinate pork belly in poitin (or whiskey) in a 13- by 9-inch baking dish, covered and chilled, turning over occasionally, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.
  • Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 300ºF.
  • Spread onion rings in an even layer in a large flameproof roasting pan and sprinkle with garlic and half of sage leaves. Pour in broth and arrange pork belly, fat-side up, on onions (discard marinade). Pour cider over pork.
  • Finely chop remaining sage leaves and mix with salt, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon in a small cup or ramekin. Sprinkle pork belly with sage mixture.
  • Cover tightly with foil and roast, basting occasionally, until pork is very tender, about 3 hours.
  • Remove foil from pork and sprinkle brown sugar over pork. Increase oven temperature to 400ºF and roast pork until glazed and golden, about 20 minutes more. Transfer pork to cleaned cutting board, reserving onions in pan (discard cloves), and let stand 20 minutes before serving.
  • Transfer onions with a slotted spoon to a serving dish and keep warm, covered. Add vinegar to liquid in roasting pan and boil on stovetop until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Pour reduced pan juices into a measuring cup and skim off fat.
  • Cut pork belly lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick slices, then halve each slice crosswise. Serve with onions and pan juices.
Cooks' note: Bunratty's Potcheen is available at internetwines.com.
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