Pork belly. It sounds unappetizing. So, why is it on the menu of every single "modern American" restaurant? What if I called it fresh bacon - would that get your attention? If so, do I have the pressure cooker meal for you.
Pork belly is the same cut of meat as bacon, but pork belly has not been cured. It has all the advantages of bacon - meat layered with thick veins of delicious pork fat.
*The disadvantage is…all those delicious layers of pork fat. Let's just say this is not a low-cal recipe and leave it at that, shall we?
How to cook it? In this recipe, I use the pressure cooker to braise it with beer. The result is tender pork, melting fat, and a delicious sauce to pour over the top. Looking for a luxurious meal that's a bit out of the ordinary? Try this recipe.
*Don't have a pressure cooker? No worries. See the Variations section for cooking instructions with a standard dutch oven.
**h/t Michael Symon for the phrase "fresh bacon".
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Pork Belly Beer Braise
Adapted From: Michael Symon's Live to Cook
Cook time: 55 minutes
- Pressure cooker, at least 6 quarts (I love my giant Kuhn Rikon 12-quart pressure cooker, but it is larger than is absolutely necessary for this recipe.)
- 2 quarts water
- ½ cup table salt (1 cup Kosher salt)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 pounds pork belly, skin removed and cut into 2 inch strips
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 cup beer
- 1 cup chicken broth (preferably homemade)
|Removing the skin from the pork belly
and cutting into 2 inch strips
1. Brine the pork belly: In a container large enough to hold the pork belly, mix the water, ½ cup table salt, and brown sugar until the salt dissolves. Add the pork belly and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours. Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry.
|Searing the belly|
2. Sear the pork belly: Pre-heat the pressure cooker pot over medium heat. Add the pork belly, fat side down, and sear for 5 minutes. Flip fat side up and sear for another 5 minutes, then remove to a bowl. Drain off all but 2 tablespoon of the pork fat.
|Sauteing the aromatics|
3. Saute the aromatics: Increase the heat to medium-high and add the onion, carrot, bell pepper, garlic, coriander seed, thyme, and salt to the pot. Saute, stirring, until the onion is starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the beer and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
|Ready to lock on the lid|
4. Pressure cook the pork belly: Add the pork belly (in a single layer if possible), then pour the chicken broth over everything. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure, then lower the heat to maintain that pressure and cook for 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally, 15 to 20 minutes.
Exciting, isn't it?
5. Serve: Move the pork to a platter, pour the liquid from the pot into a serving boat, and serve. Top each serving of pork belly with a generous ladle of the sauce and aromatics.
*To add more finesse to the sauce: Scoop the aromatics out of the liquid with a slotted spoon, then pour the sauce into a fat separator. Let the sauce rest for five minutes for the fat to separate, then pour back into the pot. Bring the de-fatted liquid to a boil, reducing by half. Serve as above, but top each serving of belly with a couple of tablespoons of sauce instead of a full ladle.
*Don't have a pressure cooker? No problem. Use a heavy bottomed dutch oven with a lid, and increase the amount of stock to 2 cups. Follow the instructions right up until "lock the lid". Then, instead of pressure cooking, bring the pot to a boil, and cover with the lid. Move the pot to a preheated 350*F oven and bake for 3 hours, until the pork is tender. Continue with the serving step.
*This recipe is even better the next day. Refrigerate overnight, scrape the fat cap off the top, bring to a simmer for ten minutes, then serve.
*If you really want to be fancy, after pressure cooking, sear the pieces of pork belly. Remove them from the broth, pat dry, then sear in a fry pan for 3 to 6 minutes a side over medium-high heat. This gives them crisp "bacony" edges to go with the tender interior.
*Bacony is a word, right? If not, it should be...
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Pressure Cooker Short Ribs with Mexican Flavors
Pressure Cooker Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)
Pressure Cooker Cochinita Pibil ("Pit Cooked" pork)
My Other Pressure Cooker Recipes
Michael Symon's Live to Cook
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