December’s Recipe of the Month: Braised Pork

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Christmas is fast approaching and while we know many of you will be preparing a traditional turkey dinner, we thought some of our readers may want to try something different. This braised pork recipe would be a great alternative to the traditional Christmas dinner, or would equally be a great meal for a New Year’s dinner, or just a winter warmer in general!

Braised Pork

Ingredients:
1-1/2 pork belly (skin removed)
1 Tbs. salt
1/4 tsp. crushed pepper flake
1/2 tsp. crushed fennel seed
1/2 tsp. crushed coriander seed
1 Tbs. grapeseed oil
1 small onion (diced)
1 carrot (diced)
1 rib of celery (diced)
4 cloves garlic
1qt. pork stock (can substitute chicken stock)
8 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 bay leaf
4 parsley stems

On a wire rack lined baking sheet, season pork belly on both sides with salt, pepper flake, fennel seed and coriander. Leave on rack in refrigerator overnight. The next day remove pork belly and allow to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Heat an oven-proof pot, such as a Dutch oven, on the stove over medium high heat. Place grapeseed oil in pan until oil starts to shimmer. Place pork belly in pan and begin to brown on the fat side. Once browned turn pork belly to the other side and brown. Once brown add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, stock and herbs. Bring stock to a simmer, place a lid on Dutch oven and transfer to oven and cook until tender, but not falling apart (approximately two to three hours). Remove from oven and allow to cool in braising liquid. Remove belly from liquid and cut into six pieces and place back into liquid.

Sweet Potato Puree
1 lb. of sweet potatoes
1/2 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper
sorghum (optional)

Roast sweet potatoes in 350 degrees F. oven for one hour, until soft and caramelized syrup starts to come out of potato. Cut potatoes in half and remove the flesh from the skin, placing into a blender (preferably a very powerful one, such as a Vita-Prep). Start off slowly and increase speed of blender; puree sweet potatoes until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (The sweet potatoes we get are extremely sweet so we usually do not have to add any sweetener to this puree. If you like your sweet potatoes on the sweeter side, we suggest adding a little sorghum to your puree.) Remove from blender and reserve.

Candied pecans
1pt. pecans
1Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. honey
1cup powdered sugar
salt and pepper

In a 10-inch or 12-inch sauté pan, toast pecans in a 350 degrees F., oven (low fan) for 10 minutes. Coat pecans with honey. Once coated, place pan on medium heat and add butter. Lightly sauté pecans, season with salt and pepper, remove from heat. In a mixing bowl, place powdered sugar and hot pecans and stir until evenly coated. Place on a sheet pan and cool. With a knife, chop pecans into smaller pieces.

To complete, divide sweet potatoes onto six plates. Place pork bellies on sweet potatoes, then garnish with kimchi and candied pecans. Serves six.

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