Unhindered by my lack of success with the short ribs, I decided to move onto pork belly. The recipe is also from Thomas Keller's Under Pressure. The crazy recipe involved sous vide at every turn, from the pork belly (82.2 °C for 12 hours) to apples (85 °C for 30 minutes) to swiss chard stems (85 °C for 1 hour, 15 minutes).
The pork started off overnight in a brine of salt, sugar, onions, carrots, bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns.
After that, it was put into a bag with chicken stock, more herbs and spices, and cooked for 12 hours at 82.2 °C. Twelve hours later, it is put in an ice bath and chilled.
When I finally took it out of the bag, it came out a beautiful pale pink color with subtle alternating layers of meat and fat. The fat was so soft, trimming it was like cutting through a piece of lard.
In my next post, I will tell you how the dish turned out. Until then, I will leave you with an appetizer. I laid thin strips of fat trimmings on top of a plain garlic bruschetta. It was delicious! The feeling of cold pork fat melting on your tongue, contrasting with the crisp texture of the toasted bread was amazing. The subtle accents provided by the herbs and spices also added complexity to the pork fat flavor. A wonderful prelude of what was to come...