Pork Belly with Agave Glaze

We recently had a few friends over for a “porkopolis” dinner – my husband grilled coffee rubbed ribs, and I made pork belly sandwiches.  Below is the recipe on how to prepare your very own pork belly – I promise you won’t ever shy away from preparing your own at home again.

This process must be started the day before serving. It should also be noted we used a gas grill.

Pork Belly with Agave Glaze – serves 10-12
5-pound pork belly (without bones)
4 teaspoons kosher salt plus more
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
6 poblano chiles, stemmed, halved
4 serrano chiles, stemmed, halved
1 cup agave nectar

Preheat oven to 250°F. Season pork belly all over with salt and pepper.

Place chiles in a large roasting pan. Place pork belly skin side down on top of chiles, and drizzle pork belly with 1/2 cup agave. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup agave nectar and 2 cups water into pan. Cover the pan tightly with foil.

Place pork belly roasting pan into the oven and cook pork for 3 hours, basting with pan juices every hour. Turn pork over and cook for 4 more hours, or until very tender.
Transfer pork to another roasting pan and cover pork with parchment paper. Top it with a large plate, and use large heavy cans as weights. Chill overnight.

To serve: Remove pork belly from pan, slice pork belly into 1″-thick pieces. Heat grill to medium and cook until warmed and crisp, about 2 minutes per side.

To prepare Pork Belly sandwiches – makes 24 mini sandwiches
Vegetable oil
1 ripe pineapple (about 3 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, cut into 1/4″ rounds
Kings Hawaiin dinner rolls

Heat to high. Brush grill rack with oil. Grill pineapple until nicely charred, 2–3 minutes per side, set aside.

Split Hawaiin dinner roll, cut grilled pineapple to fit a piece on the bun, and top with pork belly. Serve immediately.

Introductory Stuffed Artichokes

This is a wonderful way to serve artichokes to those you aren’t sure will enjoy them. John is not a big fan of whole artichokes, but he ate 3 halves, and took another for lunch. This is a great side dish, especially to a roast chicken.

They are stuffed with ritz crackers, pecorino, and sausage.
Also, their are recipes for microwaving the artichokes until softened – I just don’t own a microwave, so I’m not sure of the process but feel free to find one if you don’t have an hour to steam.

Stuffed Artichokes
– 4 servings
2 artichokes
10 Ritz crackers, crumbled
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino
1 small onion, minced
1 cup sausage, remove casings

Place artichokes in a deep saucepan, fill with about 1 inch of water, and pinch of salt. Cover, and bring to boil. Add water as needed to steam artichokes for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, combine onions and sausage in a sautepan. Cook until no longer pink and browned, then set aside to cool.

In a medium sized bowl, combine crackers, Pecorino, and sausage mixture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove steamed artichokes from water, allow 15 minutes to cool. Split the artichokes in half, discard furry choke. Place artichokes halves in an oiled glass baking dish, add 1/4 cup water.
Top each half with a generous spoonful of mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes and serve hot.

Happy Cooking