Oh my goodness, gracious. This is one of my favorite foods I've ever made. Matt says the best ever. My dad tried it and said "meh". I guess it's just a matter of taste. But if you are the pork belly type, you will most definitely like this recipe.
I've tried pork belly a few different ways and this is my fave recipe. I get pork belly from a Mexican market, this time with ribs still attached but that doesn't really matter. Next time, I'll actually remember to have the butcher remove the skin for me because it is a very laborious task.
The Recipe (from Have Knives Will Cook)
For the pork:
- 2½ lbs. boneless skinless pork belly, cut into large chunks approx. 4 oz. each
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 cup white distilled vinegar
- 4-6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp ground annatto and coriander
- crushed red pepper (optional)
- salt & pepper
- vegetable oil
For the garnishes:
- queso fresco, crumbled
- sour cream or Mexican crema
- fresh pineapple, cut into small chunks
- fresh cilantro leaves
- tomatillo salsa (see below)
- pickled onion (see below)
- lime wedges
- 2 dozen soft corn or flour tortillas
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position the rack in the center of the oven.
- Lightly score the pork belly on the fat side by making a few 1/8″ deep cuts. Generously season the pork belly with salt and pepper. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or flame-proof roasting dish over medium high heat until it shimmers. Lightly sear the pieces of pork belly on each side.
- Drain the excess fat from the pan and position the pieces of belly with the fat side down. Add the orange juice, vinegar, garlic, annatto/coriander, and a pinch of crushed red pepper so that the liquid comes halfway up the pieces of meat. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the oven 1-1/2 to 2 hours until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork.
- While the pork is cooking, prepare the garnishes.
- When the pork is cooked, let it rest covered in the cooking liquid for 5-10 minutes before pulling apart. Once it has rested, shred the meat with a pair of forks, or your fingers and mix it with just enough of the braising liquid to coat each morsel. Add salt to taste.
- Pile up in tortilla with all the yummy garnishes and eat your heart out. Yum!
I made some tomatillo salsa and picked red onions to go with it all. Yes, they are delicious and essential. For the onions, I just thinly slice them then add enough vinegar (red wine or apple cider) to cover the onions plus a little sugar or honey. Mix it up, pour into a jar and let it all soak in a few hours. Tomatillo salsa recipe below...
Tomatillo Salsa (also from Have Knives Will Cook)
- 1 lb. fresh tomatillos, husks removed (approx. 4)
- 1-2 fresh jalepeno peppers (more if you like it hot)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- salt to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the tomatillos and jalepenos and cook until the tomatillos turn yellow. Remove both the tomatillos and the jalepenos and cool them in ice water. Drain.
- Remove the stems from the tomatillos and jalepenos. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until the mixture is a rough puree.
- For a more chunky salsa, blanch only the tomatillos, cool them in ice water, drain, then dice. Stem and de-seed the jalepenos and finely dice them. Combine the diced tomatillos and jalepenos with the remaining ingredients.