braised pork belly over onions : orange : garlic

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Still on the big Island. A few nights ago I almost lost my fingertips, nope, not due to a kitchen disaster, something much cooler, night diving with manta rays on the west coast, the surge was so strong that holding on to rocks at the bottom was pretty pointless, must be how little veggie bits feel when you stir your soup bowl. wow.. powerful cooking metaphor. Diving with manta rays is listed as one of the 10 things to do before you die apparently… I don’t believe you can do much after that anyways. I have to say, it was AMAZING, like I wanna do this every night, maybe I’ll buy some manta rays and keep them in the bathtub.

I’ve decided to slow down a bit after that experience and spend some time cooking something. I’m not gonna cook a manta ray, just in case you got all excited about possibly reading the weirdest blog post ever. I’m going to prepare pork belly, I bought it in a nearby market, and it looked so great and it was cheap too, I couldn’t resist. Pork braises wonderfully, takes time to break down its meat and have that melt-in-your-mouth texture, 3 hours in the oven can get you there. Pork belly is extremely fatty and it welcomes vinegar, in this case I used white wine vinegar, is what I had at hand. I would replace that with champagne vinegar in the future. Pickles also helped balancing the richness. The caramelized onion and the roasted garlic were SO GOOD. Anyways, here’s what I did:

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This is a very simple dish to make, very few ingredients and tools, the oven works all the magic.

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Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours
Serves: 4-6 people

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Gear:

baking dish
cutting board and knife
preheated oven at 250f-300f

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Ingredients:

1 lb pork belly
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 navel orange, reserve juice, meat, peels
2 Tsp white vinegar (champagne vinegar if you have it)
4-6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
S+P

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Method:

01: add a little olive oil to the baking dish
02: place onion and garlic in baking dish
03: with your hand, toss to coat with olive oil
04: add orange juice and its meat to baking dish
05: add vinegar
06: add pork
07: salt and pepper generously
08: toss and coat again yep, used my hands there too
09: place baking dish in oven, 3 hours *
10: Remove from oven, strain fat excess, plate.

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* The braising liquid is basically the water contained in the onion, the orange juice and the vinegar. This liquid will be pretty much reduced by the time your oven time is done. I raised the oven temperature 3 times over the course of the 3 hours. Started at 250F and ended at 300f.

done.