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Food & Entertaining

Chef Rochelle's Pork Belly with Brussels Sprouts and Buttermilk Cracker Topping

Author: Karen Fernau
Issue: November, 2016, Page 115
Serves 8-10

2-2½ pounds raw pork belly
2 pounds salt
1½ pounds sugar
¼ cup toasted cinnamon
¼ cup toasted anise
¼ cup nutmeg
2 tablespoons ginger
Bay leaf, pinch of thyme and crushed garlic to taste
½ cup applesauce
Soft-boiled eggs, sliced for garnish

1 pound butter
9¾ cups or 44 ounces all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
Everything spice or seasoned salt to taste

1 pound Brussels sprouts
¼ cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon butter, cubed
Salt and white pepper to taste

3½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup canola or olive oil
1 shallot, minced
½ cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
Pinch of toasted, ground coriander

Guests will swoon over the rich and savory flavors of the pork belly appetizer.
For pork belly marinade, add salt, sugar, cinnamon, anise, nutmeg, ginger, bay leaf, thyme and garlic to a large mixing bowl. Stir until blended. Pour over pork belly and allow to cure covered with plastic wrap for 8-12 hours in the refrigerator.

To make cracker topping, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add butter to a medium size saucepan and cook on medium heat until brown, being careful not to burn. Divide brown butter in half. Set aside. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add half the brown butter, reserving the other half for brushing. Using a spoon, mix until butter and flour begin to form crumbles. Add buttermilk and mix thoroughly. Knead for about 2 minutes, or until dough becomes mildly elastic. Allow to rest 1 hour. On a clean surface, roll out mixture paper thin. Puncture with a fork and sprinkle with everything spice. Place on a large baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and set aside.

For Brussels sprouts, wash vegetables and drain well. Cut ¼ inch off the stem of each sprout. Next, peel back the layers and discard cores. Heat large skillet on medium heat. When hot, add butter and, when melted, add shallots and Brussels sprouts. Sauté for about 4 minutes or until the leaves are bright green and wilted, but with crunch remaining. Salt and pepper to taste.

For vinaigrette, whisk all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Toss Brussels sprouts to taste with vinaigrette.

Prepare to serve by preheating oven to 450 degrees. Rinse pork belly and place fat side up on a wire rack. Bake for 1 hour, basting it with the rendered fat at the halfway point, until the pork is golden brown. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees and cook for an additional hour. Brush with applesauce the last 30 minutes. Transfer the pork belly to a cutting board and slice into serving pieces. Top with buttermilk cracker crumbs and serve with sliced soft-boiled eggs and sautéed Brussels sprouts.

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