Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cider Braised Pork Belly with Yukon Gold Puree

Man, lots of stuff to get to and only one post, so...

The deadline to enter our Quickies Morning, Noon, and Night Cocktail Challenge is fast approaching.  Please send in your entries by September 24, 2010.

Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to create your sexiest drink, alcoholic or non alcoholic.

The prize is the marvelous cookbook Quickies: Morning, Noon, and Night by the lovely Denise Fletcher.

I want to thank Marx Foods for sponsoring The 5 Star Foodie Summer 10 Makeover and supplying us with an awesome gift box of ingredients to work with. 

A big thank you to everyone who voted on the poll, we ended up receiving like 160 total votes.

Lastly, I would like to thank our beautiful host, the 5 Star Foodie herself.  Natasha from 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures runs one of the best blogs on the net...period!  She is a fantastically creative cook, writer and an amazing photographer.  Apart from that. she is a very sweet person and I am happy to be able to call her a friend.

LC's Cuban Fish & Chips was fortunate enough to be chosen as the WINNER of the Summer Makeover.  So here it is one more time before we retire it....

Now here's the real star of the Summer Makeover, Silvia from Citron et Vanille.  She created a fabulous Vegetarian Cassoulet with Trout Beans & Wild MushroomsThis was the dish I voted for! 

If you are a regular reader of LC you know that Silvia is one of my favorite cooks, her talent is really over-the-top and her dishes never cease to inspire.  If by chance you do not know her, please do yourself a favor and check out her blog.

Welcome to Out-and-Out Extravagance Saturday

Do you have a kitchen role model? Someone who’s inspired you to evolve your cuisine? In developing my kitchen repertoire, Thomas Keller and Marco Pierre White have had a significant influence on my food. Thomas Keller made me see the infinite possibilities that exist for plating your food elegantly. Marco Pierre White made me understand the importance of finding out where your food comes from and supporting the great produce indigenous to where you live.

With that said, my absolute kitchen hero is Joel Robuchon.  The man dubbed, “The Chef of the Century” in France…could you imagine, think about all the amazing chefs that country has produced…is my favorite chef. Many of his kitchen philosophies fall right in line with what I believe. His food is incredibly progressive, but he has such an amazing grasp of the fundamentals of cooking. He preaches straightforward, clean, and harmonious food. Recently, in an interview the chef was asked basically, what his theoretical last meal would be, he answered, “Give me a good potato with butter and I am happy man.” I could not agree more. I can relay that message in my own exceedingly convoluted mathematical kitchen equation…

Yukon Gold Potato + Butter = Heaven

So, I know that you’ve seen my Yukon Gold Puree many times and my guess is that you will see it again, again, and did me mention; again!

Pork belly, oh wonderful, fabulous, luxurious, sumptuous, splendid pork belly. Food so good I can now understand why it is a sin to eat in many cultures. Search out the best possible product you can afford, it will make your dish better in the end product. Humane animal husbandry and earth-friendly production practices ensure ecologically sustainable farms. Eden Farms is one of the most economically and environmentally sustainable food companies around. 

The belly is where we get our bacon and pancetta from. However, if you purchase the whole piece, and braise it, you will have experienced the equivalent of culinary enlightenment.  Here's how tender it can be...


Cider Braised Pork Belly with Yukon Gold Puree

For the Pork Belly:
4 lb Organic Pork Belly - Skin-on
Sea salt
Black pepper
Ground coriander
Smoked pimenton
Blended Oil

Remove the pork belly from fridge 30 minute before cooking.  Season both sides of the pork with spices.  Cut the pork in half.  Heat 2 pans over medium-high heat.  Add blended oil.  When the oil is hot and rippling, add the pork belly, one piece in each pan.  Brown the pork on both sides.  Remove to a plate to rest.

For the Braising Liquid:
750 ml Magners Hard Cider
1 large yellow onion - chopped
3 celery stalks - chopped
1 leek - (white & light green parts only) - chopped
3 carrots - peeled & chopped
6 oz Organic tomato paste

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Heat a large braising pan over medium heat.  Add some blended oil.  Add the onion, celery, leeks, and carrot.  Sweat the veg for 5 minutes.  Make a well in the center and add the tomato paste.  Brown the tomato paste to remove raw acidity.  Add the pork the pan.  Pour in the hard cider.  Cover with a parchment lid, not a tight fitting lid.  You want some of the liquid to reduce and intensify the flavor of the sauce.

Braise in oven for 3 hours.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. Lazaro, this looks like heaven on a plate. Bellissimo!
    xoxo Pattie

  2. oh yeah baby this is an awesome twosome! the taters and butter and pork...looks fantastic! Congrats to the talented bloggers from that specular makeover, and I totally agree love Silvia's dish as well...nice job to that delicious fish and chips dish as well! Great makeover Natasha, you always make it spectacular!

  3. Hey Laz!
    I think me and the pixies will be coming for dinner!
    Have a great weekend!
    Sparkly Hugs,
    Tobi and the Pixies

  4. Congrats again and agian! I like Slyvia dish too. In fact all the dishes are fantastic! LOVE prok belly. Glad that you left skin on. Some recipes ask for skinless. Skin is the best part! I can see how tender it is. Oh man, this makes me crave for pork belly in a sudden. If I cook this, I guess it will be just me to fisnish this off. I like Thomas Keller (who doesn't like it right?) and know Marco Pierre White from you. Both are great chefs! Potato and butter yes it is heaven!! That statement cranked me up.

    I'm writing too much now. This dish is fabulous! Have a great weekend Laz.

  5. Thanks for linking up the puree - I need a side to go with the brisket that I'm currently smoking, and this looks a lot better than the baked potatoes I was planning :) And what a great idea to braise pork in hard cider! This looks delicious.

  6. Wow, this really does look melt in your mouth amazing! Congrats on this fine dish:)

  7. Seriously drooling over this heavenly looking pork belly and of course always love that potato puree! Thank you so much for your wonderful words about me and congrats again on a well deserved win!!!

  8. Congratulations on the win Lazaro! Definitely well deserved!

    I'm not a big pork eater, but if I were, hubby and I would absolutely love this dish. The meat looks so tender. You sure know how to braise and infuse wonderful flavors into meat. Have a great weekend!

  9. Congratulations Laz!!! I am so glad you won, though I do think Silvia's entry was gorgeous too.

    Right at this moment, my 16 year old is reading over my shoulder and asking me to recreate your dish for dinner. He's practically salivating on my head LOL

    It looks stupendous! The crackling (looks like crackling to me) is done to perfection!!! You know I love Yukon Gold taters and cider is beautiful with pork.

    I don't eat much pork at all but belly and bacon, I would lay down my life for!!!

  10. Beautifully done, and looks exquisite. I am impressed by your culinary hero :) I am so pleased that 5 Star Foodie won, I had my fingers crossed (not that it was needed). My culinary heroes are my Dad and Julia Child...I do love Silvia (citron et vanille) as well, small culinary world we have here in a way :)

  11. Okay this looks Heavenly!! Yukon Golds are my FAVORITE potatoes and the tender, braised pork belly looks amazing! Looks like it will serve quite a few, but I was wondering about how many? Thanks for another excellent recipe.

  12. I always come here right AFTER I EAT and shame on me, I just want to go out and EAT AGAIN! That trout cassoulet especially looks wonderful...oh how I love beans. IT'S THE MEXICAN IN ME!!!!!

    Peace and bon apétit to you Lazaro! Anita

  13. Congrats on the win Lazaro, that's awesome! Your dish was quite stunning if you want my honest opinion :P

    I'm not sure who my kitchen role model is but you've definitely got me thinking about it! the pork belly sounds so tasty...perfect atop the classic yukon puree!

  14. I completely agree that yukon golds + butter = heaven! And wow, that is some tender meat! The braising liquid sounds like it adds some great flavors!

  15. I adore pork belly and am going to be doing some pork belly confit soon... I have just rendered the fat. But, can see that I need to buy another chunk as this recipe is killer.

  16. Well as a gal with Polish roots, I do love a good potato (with loads of butter of course!) I love that you are inspired by Joel, Lazaro, and your dishes are always so beautifully presented and complex. I love to look at them and learn from you.

    I am not as complicated in my dishes. I have an understanding of many ethnic flavor profiles yet all my dishes are quite simple. Peasant food that is highly flavored, no matter what part of the world it's from. I got my palate from a place, not a person, from living in Australia, where they have a melting pot of cultures that rivals Americas. (I miss good Asian food!)

    Now I want pork belly for breakfast! Great post, Lazaro!

  17. PS: I am SO IN for the sexy cocktail contest!!!!

  18. Lazaro, I have to say with all the incredible dishes you turn out, you are my kitchen role model. this dish is no exception, it just sounds like heaven for the palate.

  19. wow....your description of pork belly makes me want to go right out and find some, I have never had it... Yukon gold are my favorite potato, I just love them so I understand why you enjoy that puree so much!
    I can only imagine the flavors you brought together in this wonderful dish.....simply delicious!
    Great job my friend!

  20. Oh sweet, tender, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly goodness! Very very nice. And congratulations on winning, Lazaro!

  21. Wow - this entry if chock full of beautiful food! I am a HUGE fan of the pork belly & this recipe looks delicious. While in Paris we ate a Atelier Joel Robuchon and they serve everything with a side of potato puree served in adorable little Staub pots. It was definitely a beautiful restaurant although quite overpriced. Can't wait to see who wins the sexy drink contest - how fun! Cheers:)

  22. Felicidades on the win! Nice dish indeed!! I love it. I'm mad I didn't get to vote, otherwise I would have on yours, but clearly you didn't need it! Can't wait to see what you make with the winning goodies!

  23. congrats on the win! that looks perfect!

    as does the pork :)

  24. I love braised pork belly! The braising liquid looks divine. :)

    And congratulations on winning for the Summer Makeover! :)

  25. Lazaro, what a nice dish of pork belly, I can tell that the meat can melt in your mouth and is beautifully paired with puree Yukon potatoes. Nice photos!

  26. Excellent post as always Lazaro! The food and photos are perfect.

  27. Great post! I'm kind of a pork-aholic, so this is right up my alley!


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