I have spent the better part of the last year talking about my weight loss successes and have provided you many ideas for getting on the healthy horse. But from time to time, we have to sit back and enjoy some of the guilty pleasures in life that put smiles on our faces.
Last Monday, I helped represent The Chopping Block at the Common Threads event at Soldier Field. Common Threads seeks to reach out to young kids to expose them to the many different cultures and cuisines around the world. A collection of 75 chefs from around the city gathered for the event to help raise money for this great organization. The Chopping Block chose to represent Germany and the Lincoln Square neighborhood.
We served Slow-Roasted Pork Belly with Citrus-Braised Cabbage and Caraway Potato Pancake. Pork belly has to be one of the earth’s greatest gifts to the culinary world. We cured the pork with salt, sugar and caraway seeds overnight. The next day, we rinsed off the cure and placed the bellies in a 200 degree oven. The meat cooked very gently for a solid 12 hours, much like the cooking of a pork shoulder or brisket in a smoker. Once the belly was cooked to tender, we placed the meat on a large sheet tray and placed another tray on top. We used some heavy pots to add weight to the belly to press the meat together. The next day, we cut our little tasting portions and headed off to the stadium. We quickly seared both sides of our portions to provide a nice, crispy texture. This, served with the caraway flavored potatoes and the nice touch of citrus in the braised cabbage provided the perfect representation of Germany.
Pork belly is indeed one of the most delicious, guilty pleasures to be enjoyed. Have you cooked with it before? Let me know here what dishes inspire you and your belly!