Some things I’ve been cooking

Here’s the pork belly I cooked a couple of weeks ago: 

Braised pork belly with lentils du puy, sweet potato and sauce Robert

The process was simple – I used the brine from Fergus Henderson’s Nose to Tail cookbook.  For the braising liquid, I reduced down some cider vinegar with some mustard seed, star anise and thyme to au sec, to which I then added some stock and mirepoix and reduced by half.  Prior to searing the belly I scored the skin side.

I braised it at 350 for a couple of hours (maybe two and a half) until it was fork tender, then let cool before put in the fridge.  I recommend cooking it at least several hours ahead (if not a day ahead) so that you can cool it before portioning it).  Cutting it when it’s cold is much easier.  To reheat, I heated up a pan and seared the belly a little bit before tossing in some of the reserved and strained braising liquid. 

The lentils are easy.  Rinse them first, then place them in a pot with cold water, bring to a boil, then strain and rinse.  Again, add to pot with plenty of water (maybe a couple of inches above the lentils), only this time toss in 1 carrot that you’ve quartered, a halved onion, 1 stalk of celerly that’s been halved and 2 or 3 pieces of bacon that’s also been cut into thirds.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, season the water pretty generously (but not too generous).  They’ll take about 30-40 minutes to cook (the green French lentils or lentil du puy as they’re called).  

Once they’re done, strain and spread the lentils on a sheet tray to cool.  To reaheat I just tossed them in a pan with a little of the belly braising liquid, season accordingly.  (I also added some diced sweet potato to the lentils which I’d previously sauteed with some thyme sprigs).

The sauce I used was Sauce Robert which I’d had from work when we changed our menu at some point. 

Here’s what we ate for dinner the last two nights:

Crispy braised chicken with fennel, olives and lemon with potato pancakes

This is from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc cookbook (also worth picking up).  We added potato pancakes to the dish which went really well.  This was also better the 2nd day than the first.

And here’ s Nate eating and enjoying some spaghetti squash two nights ago:

Nate pondering his spaghetti squash


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