Passion for Pork

PB+J pork belly on cinnamon brioche @ Niche Restaurant

Sharman - Thursday, April 11, 2013
PB & J Pork Belly on Cinnamon Brioche with Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce and Strawberry Jam

When Niche‘s Executive Chef Eric Hanson invited me in to try a new pork dish for the spring menu I came a running. Chef Hanson was eager to introduce me to his new Sous Chef Jason Grainger, who had created a sweet and savoury pork belly starter.

Originally from Saskatchewan, Grainger headed west and picked up his first kitchen job with Chef John Udell at Baker Creek Bistor in the Rockies. From the dishwasher to the veg line, Grainger’s career in the kitchen had started.

His resume includes stops at Truffles Bistro in Saskatoon and Crazy Weed in Canmore, but it wasn’t until he found himself at Peller Estates Winery in Niagra where the culinary light really went on for him.

He made it back to Saskatchewan where he worked at Weczeria (Ukrainian for evening meal) before taking a break from the kitchen as he traveled through Europe.

And then, Grainger headed to E-town where he walked into Niche Restaurant, much to the chagrin of Chef Eric Hanson. And so… I heard his story as he prepared Pork Belly on Cinnamon Brioche with Peanut Butter Caramel & Strawberry Jam ($12 starter at Niche Restaurant).  

Cinnamon Brioche
Pork Belly - Brined, and then braised in 100% duck fat on low and slow
Searing the Pork Belly
Chef Grainger's Pork Belly Brine Recipe
Bleubry from Fromagerie Alexis de Portneuf
Adding a slice of Bluebry
Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce Sample Time with Chef Hanson
Bleubry melted on the cinnamon brioche
Strawberry Gel
Topping it with homemade Jam
Chef Grainger with his PB & J Pork Belly at Niche
Chef Eric Hanson and Chef Jason Grainger @ Niche
Gluten free without the brioche, but still delicious!

I’ve eaten a ridiculous amount of pork belly in the last year, and this was the first sweet and savoury take on the classic peanut butter and belly taste I’ve tried. The peanut butter caramel sauce is absolutely sinful (I literally licked my plate clean).