My first recipe challenge from Chef Jason Laurin, actually a meal, is going to take a week to prepare. It’s pork belly confit with farro and black rice with roasted autumn squash.
There are multiple steps in this meal. There’s making the pork belly confit, the farro, black rice and roasted autumn squash. I’m afraid to see how Jason is going to follow this one up.
As an aside, and commercial moment, I invite you to visit Jason’s own blog (Sticky Fingers), his company’s website (Essence Catering) and follow him on Twitter (@chefjayl).
I started off with the pork belly confit, because if did the farro, rice and squash, they’ll be cold and stale after a week – which is how long the confit has to sit.
The confit, as I note, will only take a week to complete and has 11 ingredients. The ingredients include black pepper, ground cinnamon, cloves, allspice, bay leaves, sprigs of fresh thyme, garlic, salt, skinned pork belly, white wine and duck fat (first photo).
Most of this doesn’t intimidate too much, but I do know one thing: get the right ingredients from the right locations and keep it fresh. I also made an attempt to be sustainable in the making of all this.
Call me observant, but even I know the skinned pork belly is the central piece. I head straight to Aubrey’s Meat Merchants on York Street in The Market. Without question owner Brian Kennelly and his butchers offer great product.
In another commercial moment, Dianna and I have shopped at Aubrey’s in the past, but a walk-through The Market in July with Paola St. Georges (C’est Bon Cooking, @cestboncooking) gave us the opportunity to chat with Brian. It was very interesting and I invite you to take Paola’s tour to find out.
Step 2 with the pork, after gathering all needed, was making the dry cure rub by mixing all those ingredients. I then placed the pork belly in a bowl and thoroughly rub the dry cure all over (second photo). I cover and let sit eight hours in the fridge.
Special mentions now about the pork belly: 1. I didn’t notice until I got home that the sticker on the brown paper said “side of pork”. I panicked! What the heck is side of pork? I sent quick note to Jason, figuring he’d now be pulling his hair out wondering why he got involved with me. I also decided to call Aubrey’s. The butcher who served me said he meant to tell me it was pork belly, but he printed the wrong sticker. 2. The piece of pork has ribs in it. Jason told me to make sure they take the skin off, but didn’t mention there would be bones. He was surprised too. So now I had to take out the bones.
I’m now on my third pot, because I couldn’t find one that made sense. The third step involved pouring in enough white wine, one that I would actually drink, over the pork enough to cover it (third photo). This now sat for 24 hours.
In the fourth step, I took the pork out of the marinade and patted it dry with paper towels. I then melted enough duck fat to cover the pork belly (fourth photo). I placed it in the oven at a low temperature for three hours (fifth photo). I left it to cool in the pot and then placed it in the fridge for a week (sixth photo from the next morning).
Now we wait until this Sunday -- one week -- before plating the pork belly confit with faro, black rice, roasted autumn squash and a simple broth.
I’m actually quite pathetic at making rice, as easy as that is, so that will be interesting. I’m also curious for the squash and broth.
That will be next week’s entry.
See you then.