05 April 2010

Braised Pork Belly

Took Sennet to his first Farmer's Market this past weekend. There are only a couple that are open year round. We went to the one in the University District, just to see what they had this early in the season.

Ended up picking up some fresh bread, fresh organic greens, farm fresh organic eggs, some herbed goat cheese, and the true find: a nice, thick pork belly.

Pork belly is the cut of meat that bacon comes from. The belly is sold in a block, before being cut, cured, or dried & aged for bacon. Fatty & beautiful.

The pork belly we bought came from
Wooly Pigs, a company that pasture-raises Mangalitsa pigs very near Seattle. Mangalitsa are an eastern European breed of pig known particularly for it's good lard. They are directly descended from wild boars. The owner of the company imported a heard of the Mangalitsa, and uses the Austrian techniques for raising and finishing the pigs. They are the only breeder of Mangalitsa in North or South America, and they are a member of the Mangalitsa Pig Breeder's Association of Austria. Wooly Pigs' Mangalitsa have been served in such restaurants as The French Laundry, The Herbfarm, and Michael Mina and The Four Seasons of San Francisco.

I learned all of this over the weekend. But what I really learned was that the Mangalitsa tastes great!

I rubbed some fresh garlic and spices & herbs onto the belly and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. I then braised it in the oven with some onions & red potatoes for several hours. When it was almost finished I braised the wild greens on the stovetop. Dinner was excellent - the pork belly savory with a lot of beautiful, clean, white fat. Almost had a foie gras flavor & texture. With a couple glasses of wine, it was wonderful.

Praise the Lard!

P.S. Sennet was already asleep when we ate, so didn't get to partake. But he does seem to be an adventurous eater, at least for now (we hear this will change). Over the last few days he's had tilapia, chicken, mac & cheese, scrambled egg, okra, sweet potato, broccoli, kidney beans, avocado, beets, peas, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, apples, peaches, bananas, strawberries, oatmeal w/ blueberries & Greek yogurt, cottage cheese w/ raspberries, and Cheerios. Right now we are trying to make almost all of his food - no little jars. Mostly steaming (if necessary) and then blending and saving in the freezer. Other things we just cut into bite size pieces and he chows them down.

KJT - Seattle (2010)


cae said...

"we hear this will change" oh, heck yeah. My daughter used to be so damned easy to feed - now she's a cheese-hating vegetarian! Gah!

TragicNostalgic said...

If Sennet isn't noshing on Pork-belly and sipping port whilst commenting on its 'velvety texture and crisp finish' by his second birthday, I will be a monkey's uncle.