Ingredients

Pork belly

Other Names: Panceta corte (Spanish), pancetta squadrata (Italian), poitrine parée (French), pork side, Schweinebauche (German), trimmed belly.

General Description: Pork belly (NAMP 408-409) is a rustic, flavorful cut that is popular in Italian, French, and Chinese cuisines. A hot commodity on the futures market, pork belly is very tasty but can also be fatty. It may be braised, turned into soft, rich shreds called rillettes, turned into confit (spice-cured and slow-cooked), or made into a terrine. It is the cut from which bacon and salt pork are prepared.

Part of Animal: The belly is the underside of the pig.
Pork belly is a very fatty, tough, flavorful cut.

How to Choose: A whole pork belly weighs about 18 pounds; a skinless pork belly weighs about 13 pounds. You may also find center-cut pork belly or pork belly from which each rib has been removed.

Amount to Buy: Allow 4 to 8 ounces per person.

Storage: Store pork belly and ribs refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Preparation:

  1. Make a rich cooking liquid by combining stock with spices and aromatic vegetables and simmering.
  2. Add a piece of pork belly. Reduce to a gentle simmer and be careful not to boil. Simmer 2 to 3 hours, or until tender, then allow to cool in the liquid.
  3. Remove from the liquid, straining the liquid if desired. Cut the belly into slices and reheat in the liquid or pan-fry over medium heat till crisp and brown.

Flavor Affinities: Bay leaves, caraway, cilantro, cinnamon, cumin, fennel, garlic, leeks, paprika, sake, soy sauce, star anise.

from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com