Every year when Thanksgiving rolls around, I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone. The holiday spirit comes rushing in, only to be quickly swept away with the beginning of the new year. This year, I’m celebrating the holidays by eloping in Italy (!!!). I can’t think of a better way than to walk around the streets of Rome and Florence, snacking on gelato and stuffing myself with pasta. Be ready for loads of Italian recipes when I return. In the meantime, here is a herb roasted pork belly with shallot mustard sauce that was inspired by my usual roasted pork loin with dijon cream sauce. A great dinner for Christmas or any ordinary weeknight!
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Braising is a long cooking process. You are essentially stewing the meat in a liquid at a low temperature for a long period of time. The meat soaks up the liquid it is cooking in and becomes so tender that it will fall off the bone. It’s a great way to turn a tough, cheap cut of meat into a wonderful, tender main entree.
Today I’m preparing pork belly. Pork belly is not a cheap, tough cut of meat but when it’s braised, the fat cap melts and it becomes heavenly. You can go the traditional route and use an oven or go the speedy way and use a pressure cooker or instant pot (my new favorite cooking device!).
Although this dish takes a long time to cook, you’re really just letting the pork belly sit there so there is a lot of downtime. First, marinade. Next, braise. Then, use the cooking juices to make a sauce. Lastly, sear. Easy right?
Normally when braising, the meat is first seared then braised. I chose to switch the method because of the type of meat. When you are braising, the steam from the liquid makes the top fat cap lose its crispiness. I want the top fat cap to stay nice and crispy when ready to eat, hence braise first, sear later.
If you are using a giant slab of pork belly, wait for it to cool slightly before slicing. Since the meat will be very tender, it may just fall apart under the pressure of your knife. Wait about 15 minutes and give it a try.
This herb roasted pork belly with shallot mustard sauce is a real winner in my book. The marinade alone has so much flavor that you only need to add a few ingredients to turn it into a fabulous sauce. Pork belly for the win!
(Just in case you’re wondering, the pork belly on the left is a Korean spicy gochujang braised version. East meets west, am I right?)
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.