Appetizers
January 6, 2010
Where's the pork (belly)?

Beeler's Duroc Belly.JPGDon't be put off by those long, seemingly daunting recipes in today's Food & Wine section - braising a pork belly at home isn't as hard as it sounds.

Yes, it takes a while (about 48 hours to be exact), but the actual hands-on cooking is rather simple. And the meat that results, well, is simply fantastic.

When I interviewed food writer and cookbook author Michael Ruhlman for my story, he said he recently talked someone through the process of making a pork belly using Twitter.

Conveying how to cook a pork belly in 140 characters? Now that's impressive.

"It's one of those things when people first do it, it changes their lives," Ruhlman said. "It's so easy, so delicious."

The hardest part about making a pork belly is acquiring one, though we are blessed with several great butchers and grocers in the Sacramento region who can help with that.

I got my pork belly at Taylor's Market, but it also can be found at Vande Rose Farms Meat & Fish in Granite Bay, Reed's Gourmet Meat Co. in East Sacramento and Corti Brothers.

It's also a good idea to call and pre-order one ahead of time. Many butchers also will take the skin off for you.

For pork belly recipes, including recipes for what to serve with pork belly, check out sacbee.com/recipes.

I used Pajo Bruich's recipe for vanilla apple puree, which I served beneath my seared pork belly and topped it with his recipe for apple celery salad. Follow the link above for those recipes. (pictured is an onion-crusted sous vide Duroc pork belly with cocoa and strawberry paint and compressed melon salad prepared by Chef John Paul Khoury, corporate chef for Preferred Meats).

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