Pork belly, Israeli couscous, rainbow chard with pinenuts, raisin and port sauce

Here’s a tasty recipe I made recently for some pork belly I had hanging out in my freezer (and thanks must go out to Dean for helping me when I couldn’t think of anything to do):

Score the skin side then soak the the pork belly for 24 hours or so in the following brine (this is Fergus Henderson’s recipe from The Whole Beast:  Nose to Tail Eating which I’ve halved) – 1 cup sugar, 1 1/8 cup salt, 6 juniper berries, 6 cloves, 6 peppercorn, 2 bay leaves, 2 quarts water.

To braise the pork belly, brown it in a pan, then brown some mirepoix.  Deglaze with a cup or so of port, then add brown stock (I used chicken because that’s what I had), then add a cup or so of raisins, the zest of 1 lemon, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorn.  Braise at 300 for about 2 hours or until the belly is fork tender.

Remove the belly and cool down, preferrably overnight; meanwhile strain the braising liquid, reduce and season.

When the belly is chilled down you can now portion it into however big a portion you want.

For the couscous, sweat and onion in oil, then add a cup or so of Israeli couscous, simmer for a few minutes, then deglaze with half a cup or so of white wine.  Add 2-4 ounces of hot chicken stock at a time (much like you would for risotto) until it’s cooked and absorbed most of the liquid (it takes about 2 cups of stock), about 25-30 minutes.  Season.

While the couscous is cooking, reheat the pork belly by heating a pan with oil, then searing skin side down for a minute or two (be careful as the fat will splatter violently).  Flip over, then add a little stock to the bottom of the pan and place in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

For the chard, heat a pan with olive oil, add sliced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the chard and saute until wilted, toss in toasted pinenuts and season with salt and pepper.

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