Just a quick post this week as real life is intruding a bit and I am running hither, thither, and yon. Anyway, I know you were left wondering ‘what did he do with the other half of the pork belly from last week’s post.’ Well, wonder no more. I fancied up a simple braise with a delicious blood orange and ginger glaze.
This one just kind of came to me. I had picked up some blood oranges to add to a Basque style chicken but kept forgetting to take the chicken out of the freezer. Since I had the pork belly I started to think about how to use them and remembered the ham glaze I make at Christmas has orange juice in it. I thought if a glaze is good enough for a ham it’s good enough for the belly.
Now the Christmas ham glaze is good but I think it’s meant to go with the pineapple slices and cherries. It’s very clove-y and sweet, which is fine with a salty ham but not the right kind of flavor profile I was looking for with a non-brined/cured belly. So, me being me, I made adjustments and came up with one which worked better.
Pretty straightforward combinations here which are excellent with pork. Orange, ginger, lavender, honey, and some bourbon. Not bad, huh? While I don‘t necessarily think you need a thickener like a cornstarch slurry to gel up the glaze, it helps immensely. You don’t need to reduce as much and a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with water goes a long way.
I don’t think I need to tell you this little experiment turned out great. Cheryl was quite happy!
Braised Pork Belly with a Blood Orange Ginger Glaze
- 2 lb pork belly
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 12 oz beer/cider/stock
- ½ C white wine
- 2 Tbs olive oil
For the glaze
- ½ C blood orange juice
- Zest from 2 blood oranges
- ¼ C bourbon
- 1 ½ Tbs fresh ginger
- 1/8 C honey
- 1 tsp lavender
- Cornstarch slurry (1 Tbs cornstarch + 1 Tbs water mixed)
Score the skin crosswise with a sharp knife or razor blade. Season the entire belly with salt, pepper, and thyme.
Pre-heat oven to 325°F.
Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pan/pot over medium high heat. Place belly skin side down in the pan and sear, cooing for 5 minutes until skin starts to crisp and brown. Flip over and sear the meat side.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the onions and garlic. Cook until soft and starting to brown, 2-3 minutes.
De-glaze the pan with wine.
Add the beer and bring to a boil.
Put the pork belly back in, if needed add some water (or more beer/cider) to make sure the braising liquid is level with the skin. Bring to a boil, cover and place in oven. Braise for 2 hours, checking the liquid level occasionally.
In a sauce pan, combine the juice, bourbon, honey, lavender and ginger. 15 minutes before the 2 hours are up, bring them to a simmer on the stove, reducing by ¼. Whisk in half of the cornstarch slurry, cook until it thickens. If you want it thicker add the rest. Set aside.
After 2 hours remove the belly and drain off some of the liquid.
Brush the glaze on and place back in the oven without the cover. Cook for 10 minutes then add more glaze. Cook another 10 minutes, apply glaze. Cook 10 minutes, apply glaze, remove from oven and serve.