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Braised Pork Belly with Creamy Grits

Serves 6
Total preparation time: 4 hr. 50 min.

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 to 3 pounds Pork Belly, skin removed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1/4 cup grapeseed oil, or clarified butter
1 bottle pino noir, or other red wine
4 cups veal stock, or vegetable stock
1 rib celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 ounce fresh thyme leaves
6 teaspoons honey, light flavored, like alfalfa

Creamy Grits

2 cups heavy cream
cups water
1 cup white grits, or yellow grits, or polenta (not instant)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Using a very sharp knife, carefully split pork belly crosswise in half. Season both sides of both pieces with salt and pepper.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons clarified butter in a large heavy skillet or 6-quart braiser pan. Add one pork belly piece, fat side down. Cook until fat is nicely brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn pork belly piece over and brown the other side. Transfer pork belly to a plate; discard fat in skillet or pan. Repeat browning with remaining 2 tablespoons clarified butter and pork belly piece. Discard fat from skillet or pan.

3. With skillet or braiser pan away from heat, add 1/3 cup wine. Return skillet or pan to heat and cook over low heat, scraping brown bots from bottom of pan; remove from heat. If using braiser pan, return pork belly pieces to pan. If using skillet, pour liquid from skillet into a 6-quart Dutch oven and add pork. To the pork, add remaining wine, stock, onion, celery, carrot, and thyme. Bring to boil and cover tightly.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Remove and let pork belly cool completely. Reserve braising liquid.

5. Portion pork belly into 3 ounce to 4 ounce rectangle pieces. Place belly pieces in a large skillet or braising pan with enough braising liquid to cover.

6. Reheat on stove top over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 155°F.

7. To make grits: Bring heavy cream and water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low. slowly stir in grits. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes until fully cooked. Stir in salt and pepper.

TIP

For a cook who does not want to make their own clarified butter, use grapeseed oil because it too has a high smoke point and bland in flavor.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

Serve pork belly portions over a small mound of grits and drizzle with honey. If desired, drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons hot strained braising liquid and garnish with snipped thyme.

This recipe is from PorkBeInspired.com, courtesy of Chef Mark Hibbs of Ratcliffe on the Green in Charlotte, N.C.

© Lobel's of New York