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Braised Pork Belly Risotto

(recipe, Gary Knopke)


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Introduction

I had intended to make a pork belly dish to go with a mushroom risotto, but the mushrooms were off, so, after a little digging around on the internet, and a quick look in the refrigerator, this is what I came up with.

Ingredients

  1. 2 lb. Pork Belly
  2. 1 0.5 cup Arborio rice - rinsed
  3. 4 cups vegetable stock
  4. 1 750.0 ml bottle red wine
  5. 4 medium onions - diced
  6. 4 celery ribs - diced
  7. 3 carrots – diced
  8. 8 cloves garlic – 5 whole, three minced
  9. 4 oz. aged sharp Cheddar – crumbled
  10. 4 Tbsp. Butter
  11. 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  12. Parsley

Steps

    Braised Pork Belly
    1. Preheat the oven to 275°
    2. Heat olive oil in sauté pan until very hot, then salt and brown the pork belly on all sides. 2-4 minutes per side.
    3. Remove pork from the pan, add 3 of the diced onions, carrots, and celery, salt liberally. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
    4. Return the pork to the pan, on top of the vegetables, add the whole garlic, and equal parts wine and stock until the pork is almost covered. Cover the pan and place in the oven until the pork is done and pulls apart easily. 2-2 ½ hours.
    5. When done, remove the meat from the pan, trim the majority of the fat, and pull apart the meat. Cover and set aside.
    6. Pour the braising liquid and vegetables into a blender or food processor, add more wine and vegetable stock, and blend until combined. Transfer to a pot, and keep it warm on the stove.
    Risotto
    1. To begin the risotto, melt the butter in a large sauce pot. Add the red pepper flakes and let them infuse with the butter for 1 minute.
    2. Add the remaining onions, salt liberally, and cook for 3 minutes.
    3. Add the garlic, and cook for 2 minutes.
    4. Add the rice and stir so that the rice is coated and absorbs all the butter mixture, or about 4 minutes. Add 1 cup of wine and stir until wine is mostly absorbed.
    5. Slowly add the blended braising stock mixture to the rice, one ladle at a time, each time stirring until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. This should use nearly all the stock, and can take 30 minutes, or more. Add the pork in with the last ladle of stock.
    6. The risotto is done when the rice is al dente. When finished, remove from the heat, and stir in the cheese and parsley (or use as garnish).
    7. Serve hot.
    Notes
    1. I used a rather full-bodied cabernet, because it’s what I had on hand, but I think this would work with nearly any type of wine; I even intend to try it with a chardonnay, just to see how it works.
    2. Similarly, many types of cheese could be used in the last step. Traditionally, it seems like Parmesan is used most often in Risotto, but I like the sharp bite of the Cheddar, so that what I used.
    3. If you run out of the braising stock during the risotto stage, you can use additional stock, or even water.