Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Simple Pleasures Really are the Best

Every now and again I remember to let the food dictate my process. Sometimes I get ahead of myself trying out a new recipe or process and forget what I'm even eating.

This was not one of those times.

Simple, flavorful and unabashedly exactly what you'd expect it to be.

Roasted Pork Belly with Acorn Squash.

Few words would trigger an auto drool feature in the modern eater. Take some time to think about those six words. Let images of crackling and soft meat resting in its juices come to your frontal lobe. Think about your fork splitting up the tender meat and how it'll feel when you break through that slightly resistive coating and get to the moist meat within.

What do you need to get here?

Three hours to be exact. Now this sounds like a long time, but really this is how you let the food speak and become the star. This isn't about the presentation, but know that liking the way something looks certainly increases the enjoyment of your meal.


One pound of pork belly - split in two equal sizes
Two tablespoons of olive oil

One white onion - thinly sliced

Half of bottle of white wine
- I prefer Sauvignon Blanc
Salt and Pepper

One acorn squash


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Examine your pork belly and trim off excess fat. You really do not need anything more than a centimeter on the top of either piece. You should also try to make sure that both sections are as close to identical for even cooking.

With a sharp knife, slice thin lines down the fat of the bellies to allow for the juices to run away and rend down. Be sure not to cut all the way to
the meat. This also makes the finished product look oh so nice.

Thinly slice your onion so that you have a series of rings. I prefer using a mandolin for consistency and ease. Place these rings on the bottom of your roasting pan. You can also use a aluminum foil lined cookie sheet if you'd like. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of your olive oil on the onions and lightly add salt and pepper.

Rub salt and pepper on the pork belly and then drizzle the remaining olive oil on the pork. Really massage the meat with the mixture as it will really make a difference in the end. Place the pork belly pieces on the onion and roast for fifteen minutes.

You are cooking at this high heat initially to create a nice crust. After fifteen minutes reduce the heat to 325 and now we just settle in and wait. Once another 45 minutes has passed, carefully remove from the oven and drain the fluid from the pan. Return to oven and pour in wine but NOT on the meat.

Cook for another hour, drain and return to oven for final hour.

While this is happening, slice and clean your squash into equal parts. There should be roughly 6 portions. Remove the seeds and strings from center and cover in remaining olive oil and salt. Place on a baking sheet and cook along with the pork bellies for the final hour.

Remove the meal from the oven and cover the pork in foil and rest for ten minutes.

Plate and enjoy.

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