So that pork belly from the market? Well it came in roughly 1lb. hunks (skin on, bless them) so I figured I’d try a couple of different cures in the interest of advancing human knowledge in the cutting edge field of Bacon Science™. One got a pretty traditional cure, but with coffee and chili powder, and the other got a goodly slather with a paste made from yellow miso, yuzu miso, mashed ume plum, yuzu juice, and shichimi togarashi. There will be no prizes for guessing the direction I am hoping that one heads in.
In order to get these two hunks to fit in our two loaf pans I had to cut a bit off each one. And so this is what I was looking at as I pondered the subject of our evening meal:
Kismet, right? So those two luscious cubes were our dinner. I bagged them up with a sprinkle of 5-spice, pimentón, salt, and pepper and three ice cubes of the Trotter Gear (if liquids are frozen then the food saver has no problem with them; it just requires planning one’s marinades ahead of time.)
While the belly cooked at 65˚ C (for about 6 hours) I did what needed to be done, and arrived back at my station in time to deal with the supporting players. All my visions of two-tone tortellini flew out the window as I seized the beet-colored pasta dough remnant from the freezer and rolled it out into gnocchi. I had a good handful of green beans from the garden, and Milo had pulled up a couple of carrots (yellow, orange) because he just can’t help himself; it’s magic every time and if I didn’t feel the same way I would be annoyed at how fast we’re going through the bed. And yet I am annoyed, because our garden isn’t big enough.
So with some garlic I made a ragout with carrots, onion, and beans, and added the gnocchi- first boiled, then browned in pâté fat. When I took the pork out of the water bath, I carefully poured the liquid through a strainer into a bowl and added some kimchi juice since our latest batch is ready (and ridiculously good, if I do say so). Using the same pan as I had for the ragout and the gnocchi, I crisped up the skin real nice and then put it all together.
The belly was tender, the broth insanely good, the gnocchi dense and chewy, the vegetables al dente. There are lots of ways in which this could be refined and tightened up, but for a weekday it didn’t suck. Also not so much with the sucking was a bottle of 2008 Scalabrone- Guado al Tasso’s rosé. I like their red a lot, so upon seeing this at the store today I couldn’t resist grabbing one despite the $20 price ($17 with the case discount). A blend of Cab, Merlot, Syrah, and Sangiovese, it’s tangy and rich with some good minerality under all the strawberries, and enough grip and acidity to handle, say, a big quivering cube of pork fat.