Monday, August 27, 2012

5 Star Makeover: Pressed Crispy Pork Belly, Brie, Apple Jelly, Pickled Shallots & Apple Brandy Reduction

You are formally invited to a virtual British afternoon tea party...just stop.

The notion of me at a tea party conjures up a few things in the mind.
  • Uncivil
  • Improper
  • Bull in a China shop
  • WTF?!
Or as my eloquent wife put it...

Lawyer - Really?!  Who would invite a blunt instrument like you to a Tea Party?


Lawyer - (laughing) Oh I'd pay to see you at one of those.  What are you making chicken wings?!

Kitchen Hack - Chicken wings for a group of sophisticated ladies?  Not very subtle.

Lawyer - (Quizzical look on face)  Subtle?!  You?!

Kitchen Hack - C'mon, it's a tea party.

Lawyer - What did you have in mind?

Kitchen Hack - Pork belly.

Lawyer - Ah yes, much more subtle.

Pressed Crispy Pork Belly, Brie, Apple Jelly, Pickled Shallots & Apple Brandy Reduction

In my world this is finger food.

One lovingly perfect bite.

Listen, nobody loves their pork belly more than the Brits, so this would be spot on with some afternoon tea.  No?!

Pressed Crispy Pork Belly is star here.  The cooking is quite easy...

  • Coat the pork belly in a mixture of equal parts, sea salt, cane sugar, & smoked paprika.
  • Cook the belly at 450 F for 30 minutes.
  • Baste with the rendered fat.
  • Cook the belly at 450 F for 30 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to 250 F.
  • Cook the belly for an additional 90 minutes.
  • Allow to cool to room temp.
  • Place the belly in a hotel pan.
  • Place a second hotel pan on top of the belly.
  • Add dried beans or cans to the second hotel pan to weight the belly down.
  • Fridge for 12 hours.
The bit with the hotel pans makes slicing the belly precisely much easier.
  • Reheat the belly at 425 F for 5 minutes before service.
Apple is carried throughout the dish to compliment the belly pork.  

The construction of this course is as follows.
  1. Toasted Italian bread on the base
  2. Melted brie
  3. Crispy pressed pork belly
  4. Apple jelly
  5. Sliced Fuji apple
  6. Pickled shallots
  7. Apple brandy reduction
Obviously I was going for a good balance of sweet, tart, & fat in this one bite.

My apple brandy reduction is easy to make and has many uses in the kitchen.  Reduce together to desired consistency...
  • Apple juice
  • Calvados apple brandy
  • A dash of the pork belly rendered fat
If that does not get you excited, well, then there is just no pleasing you.

Please check back here this coming Friday, for the wonderful ladies of the 5 Star Makeover Group's proper British Tea Party creations.

Mine was not so proper or wonderful for that matter.

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


  1. LOL "blunt instrument". I didn't realize when you posted the photo on FB that it was for the tea party ... you sneaky devil. Well, it's delicious enough to compliment twice!

  2. This rocks! Certainly, you would be an interesting addition to a tea party.

    Stay safe my friend in this crazy weather.


  3. You guys crack me up...always! This is exquisite on so many levels Laz! You and the Lawyer can come to any party I may ever have, would be my favorite guests for sure :) Plus I know you will bring goodies such as
    this :)
    The textural variations here are such a delight, not to mention the flavor explosion! Fantastic stuff! Oh, and you know I will have to borrow that apple brandy reduction...beautiful component here with these favors!

  4. I enjoy these posts when you banter back and forth. I think the Lawer had you by the pastelillos....Looks wondeful...

  5. Totally blew my mind with this one, Laz! I'd happily eat this at afternoon tea any day. Love the use of apple here.

  6. I totally go for your idea of finger food! Your crude ;-) tea party offering is just stunning. Apples and brie are perfect to match.

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  8. It's good you both have a great sense of humor! This sounds like my kind of tea party --pork belly is good for what ails ya!

  9. hahaha, this is great - junior and i acted out the dialogue, so much fun :) The little pork belly sandwich sound wonderful, love the apple brandy reduction!

  10. i could totally get behind your finger food :) much better than chicken fingers!! pork, apple and brie... this would be one heavenly bite!

  11. Laz and ... a tea party. Something does not compute. Perhaps your lovely wife put it best ;)

    Still, your pork belly creation is absolutely melt-in-your-mouth delicious looking. I actually stopped Peter from buying about five pounds of the stuff last weekend, not because we wouldn't eat it, but because we literally would not have been able to fit it into our stuffed freezer. But now ... I kind of regret it. Next time!

    Also, the dash of pork belly fat in the reduction? Genius!

  12. Love your creations, but definitely love this. As one who really does make a lot of recipes I find on food blogs, and not having too much time to experiment for just the right quantities, and not too much creativity, I would love it if you tossed me a recipe with increments - just occasionally. This looks fantastic. (I don't have a food blog, I just entertain a LOT.)

    1. JC,

      Thanks for the kind words. Contact me at and I will try and send you whatever recipe you need.

  13. Laz, you are too funny. This looks so pretty yet sounds so packed with amazing flavours. I've never even been to a British tea party so really fun to do a virtual one and snigger at the same time, lol. Apple brandy? The British certainly love that too. Brilliant!

  14. I didn't know the Brits liked pork belly, but they would now after seeing this artful biteful. Trying saying that three times. Artful biteful. Artful biteful. Artful biteful.

  15. You call yourself a "kitchen hack" in the roundup but I'd invite you to my tea party for sure if you'd bring this with you! You totally had me with the brie. This sandwich is exquisite :)

  16. Love the dialog.
    As for the dish, brilliant. I would pass up cakes and scones for this every time.
    And it may be un-subtle but the plating is as beautiful as anything on the afternoon buffet. Leave it to you Laz...

  17. Forget the tea...I'll just have these, please!

  18. Lovely Laz. You may be a bull in a china shop at a pinkie-finger-up tea party, but in the kitchen you are as deft as a neurosurgeon. Your food is brilliant in conception and execution and always surprises with its joie de vivre. Bravo for a great dish (and it's pretty too!).

  19. Truth be told, I would go for the savory over sweet at a tea party any day. I love this little amuse you have come up with - quite proper, dare I say! Anyway, you know they serve booze (sherry?) at some tea parties and I think we would fit right in at one of those, don't you? ; )

  20. Haha awesome! It's so pretty, it would work ;)


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