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Braised Pork Belly with Creamy Grits

Braised Pork Belly with Creamy GritsRecipe courtesy of Chef Mark Hibbs of Ratcliffe on the Green in Charlotte, N.C., created for the Share Our Strength's Taste Of The Nation.

Recipe Ingredients:

Braised Pork Belly:
2 1/2 to 3 pounds pork belly, skin removed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1/4 cup clarified butter, or grapeseed oil
1 bottle pinot noir, or other red wine
4 cups veal stock, or vegetable stock (32 ounces)
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 rib celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 ounces fresh thyme leaves
6 teaspoons honey, light flavored (such as alfalfa)

Creamy Grits:
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups water
1 cup white grits, or yellow grits or polenta (not instant)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Braised Pork Belly: Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Using a very sharp knife, carefully split pork belly crosswise in half. Season both sides of both pieces with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons clarified butter in a large heavy skillet or 6-quart braiser pan. Add one pork belly piece, fat side down. Cook until fat is nicely brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn pork belly piece over and brown the other side. Transfer pork belly to a plate; discard fat in skillet or pan. Repeat browning with remaining 2 tablespoons clarified butter and pork belly piece. Discard fat from skillet or pan.
  4. With skillet or braiser pan away from heat, add 1/3 cup wine. Return skillet or pan to heat and cook over low heat, scraping brown bits from bottom of pan; remove from heat. If using braiser pan, return pork belly pieces to pan. If using skillet, pour liquid from skillet into a 6-quart Dutch oven and add pork. To the pork, add remaining wine, stock, onion, celery, carrot and thyme. Bring to boil and cover tightly
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Remove and let pork belly cool completely. Reserve braising liquid.
  6. Portion pork belly into 3 ounce to 4 ounce rectangle pieces. Place belly pieces in a large skillet or braising pan with enough of the braising liquid to cover.
  7. Reheat on stove top over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F.
  8. For Creamy grits: Bring heavy cream and water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Slowly stir in grits. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes until fully cooked. Stir in salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings of braised pork belly, and 3 cups creamy grits.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (1/6 of recipe): Calories: 960 calories; Protein: 13 grams; Fat: 79 grams; Sodium: 1120 milligrams; Cholesterol: 175 milligrams; Saturated Fat: 37 grams; Carbohydrates: 34 grams; Fiber: 1 grams.

Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of National Pork Board.