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Braised pork belly with pickled mustard

Posted by Jeanne on June 9, 2011

As promised, the pork belly we made Memorial Day weekend.  Earlier that week, Curt had Vietnamese for lunch with his boss, Ric.  Ric was telling Curt about a dish he used to eat in college – long-cooked pork belly with pickled mustard. Erika gave me Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking last year, and I was able to find the recipe easily.

Since we are fans of anything pork belly, we decided to make it while Scott was in town.  This is the first recipe I’ve made from the book, and it definitely won’t be the last.  Don’t be afraid of the long cooking time – it’s mostly inactive, and the smell is intoxicating.

Braised pork belly with pickled mustard, from Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking‘s recipe for long-cooked pork belly with pickled mustard

8 oz. preserved mustard greens
3 lbs. fresh pork belly with skin intact
5 oz. demerera (raw) cane sugar
2 qt. water
1 C mushroom soy sauce
0.25 C Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (I used “Cooking Michiu” – our Asian market appears to have a liquor license for beer/wine only, not hard alcohol, so that’s what I chose.)

Directions
1. Separate the stalks of the preserved mustard, open the leaves and rinse well 4 times to remove any sand and the preserving salt.

2. In a large pot, place the preserved mustard; the pork belly, skin side down; and the sugar. Pour in the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the mushroom soy sauce and the chiew, and stir well.  Return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly cracked, and cook at a low simmer for 5 hours total. After the first hour, turn the pork belly over. After the second hour, turn the pork belly again. After the third hour, turn the pork belly once again, and then cook for the final 2 hours with the skin side up. At this point, the pork belly will be tender, and its fat layers will be translucent.

Epic fail on my part with photos to this point.  Look, it’s the fat chihuahua.  She is kind of like pork.

3. Turn off the heat and transfer the pork belly and the preserved mustard to a large plate. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to overnight. Cover and refrigerate the cooking liquid.

4. Remove the preserved mustard from the plate, and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-wide strips. Arrange the mustard pieces in a bed on a steamproof dish. Cut the pork belly crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Assemble the slices, skin side up, on top of the mustard. Spoon 1 cup of the cooking liquid over the slices to give them a dark coating

5. Place the dish in a steamer, cover, and steam for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the dish from the steamer, and serve the pork in its cooking dish.

The pork in our improvised steamer.  Pork, greens, sauce in a glass bowl set inside our insert pan that we mostly used for cooking pasta.  Worked perfectly (but I’m still tempted to buy a bamboo steamer).

I did half of the pork belly this way, because I wanted to see how it would turn out.  The rest I sliced and sauteed so it had a crisp edge, and reduced the cooking liquid by about half to use as a sauce.

We served it with five-spice and szechuwan peppercorn green beans and lots of rice.

The greens were AMAZING and I think next time I will use more – there weren’t enough in every bite!

I preferred the sauteed pork belly, but both were delicious.

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