For Best Chefs America
Best Chef Jennifer Jasinski uses this recipe for cardamom scented pork belly to make the bacon at Denver's Rioja restaurant with the luxuriously fatty Kurabota hog. This recipe is accented with a fresh garbanzo bean purée, spiked with madras curry, and smothered with the pork's natural jus. Brining the pork is an important step to ensure a moist, well-seasoned final product, so don't skip it! This recipe takes two days to complete. Plan accordingly.
Cardamom scented pork belly
- 2 1/2 cups kosher salt
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 cups peeled, sliced ginger
- 1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves
- 2 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1 gallon of water
- 3 lbs. of fresh Kurabota pork belly (or finest product available), skin removed
- 1 gallon of chicken stock (or as needed)
Fresh garbanzo bean purée
- 2 cups fresh garbanzo beans (shelled)
- 1/3 sliced shallots
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tsp. madras curry powder
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt & pepper to taste
- Prepare the brine a day in advance by combining the salt, sugar, ginger, garlic, cardamom, and water in a large pot. Heat the brine over medium heat until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from the heat and allow the brine to cool in an ice bath to room temperature or below.
- Place the pork belly in a large storage container and pour the brine over it. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Remove from the brine and rinse over cold water. In a large pot, submerge the pork in chicken stock. Weight it gently so it doesn't float, but stays submerged without touching the bottom of the pot.
- Over medium-high heat bring the pot to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to scant simmer, and poach the pork for 5-6 hours. To test doneness, insert a wooden skewer into the meat. If the meat grabs the skewer, it's not done through.
- Allow the meat to cool in the cooking liquid. Removing the pork belly while it's hot may cause it to fall apart. Transfer the pot to a freezer to chill completely.
- When the pork is cool, remove it from the gelatinized liquid. Remove the hard fat from the liquid and discard. Put the portioned pork belly back into the cold liquid until it is time roast. Set aside.
Fresh Garbanzo Bean Purée
- Prepare an ice water bath. In pot of salted, rapidly boiling water, blanch the beans 1 minute. Drain them and then shock them ice water.
- In a pan over medium-high heat, sauté the shallots in butter until they are translucent. Add the curry powder and stir until it's fragrant.
- Add the garbanzo beans and the stock until the stock is almost completely reduced.
- Add the cream and stir, cooking until the mixture thickens.
- Transfer the bean mixture to a food processor and purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Assembly and Plating
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- In an 8-by-12 inch baking pan, pour 3 cups of the braising liquid. Set 8 portions of pork belly in the liquid, making sure there is 1 inch of space between each piece for optimum heat circulation. Lightly sprinkle the meat with ground cardamom.
- Heat the pork belly in the oven until it is crispy on top (at least 10 minutes).
- Place each pork belly atop 3 tbsp. of curried garbanzo bean purée, finishing the plate with 1/4 cup of hot braising liquid.