Recipe: Braised Maple Stout Pork Belly
Over the Labour Day weekend I had an opportunity to check out BaconFest at Fort Edmonton Park, an event featuring creative bacon recipes from 10 local restaurants and vendors. The bacon, which was graciously donated by Olymel, could be sampled sweet in ice cream and chocolate dipped, or enjoyed savoury in grilled cheese sandwiches, atop perogies, or in mac & cheese. Central Social Hall kindly shared BaconFest recipe for braised maple stout pork belly. The sweet-braised belly came served on a stick, and who doesn’t love to eat meat on a stick? As with many pork belly recipes this dish takes some prep time – so plan ahead.
Braised Maple Stout Pork Belly
Recipe courtesy of Reuben Major, Culinary Development Consultant, Central Social Hall
What you’ll need…
1 Pork Belly (scored)
1 large White Onion (1/2” diced)
2 stalks Celery (1/2” rough chopped)
1 large Carrot (peeled, ½” rough chopped)
1 ½ cups Brown Sugar
1 ½ cups Maple Syrup
200 ml Stout
4 sprigs Thyme Sprigs
1 Tbsp Peppercorns
2 Bay Leaves
750 ml Vegetable/Pork Stock
Maple Stout Caramel
1 lb butter, cold and cubed
Heat a pan over medium heat. Place pork belly fat side down into the pan and sear until caramelized to golden brown. Remove pork belly and set aside.
Add the diced vegetables to the fat remaining in the pan. Cook, stirring regularly until the onions begin to caramelize. Add the sugar and maple syrup and continue cooking until the sugar dissolves. Add the beer. The liquid will begin to bubble. Cook until the bubbles subside. Add the thyme, peppercorns and bay leaves.
Pour the liquid into an oven proof pan. Place the seared pork belly on top. Cover with the vegetable or pork stock. Place the pan on the heat and bring to a simmer. Remove, cover with parchment and then wrap with tin foil.
Place in a pre-heated 425°F oven and braise for 1.5 hours. Remove and open the tin foil. Allow to vent until cool. Turn the oven off and leave the pan in for 30 additional minutes. Remove from the oven, remove tin foil and place in a cooler overnight. Once cool, remove the pork belly and place on a parchment lined baking pan. Strain the braising liquid and reserve for Maple Caramel.
Place the cold pork belly on a cutting board and cut in half or thirds depending on the width, approximately 3 – 4 inches wide. Cut those pieces in ½” increments creating thick slabs that are approximately 3 – 4” x 1” x ½”…essentially thick slabs of bacon.
On a hot griddle or non-stick pan, place the bacon pieces in an organized fashion working from left to right. Cook until the pieces begin to caramelize to a light golden brown, nice and crispy. Flip and continue cooking until the second side is caramelized to the same level.
Remove to a paper towel lined baking pan and allow to cool. Remove from the paper towel and replace with parchment. Pierce each piece of bacon in the center of the small end, and feed it half way through the bacon creating a “popsicle” – bacon on a stick.
Maple Stout Caramel
Place the strained maple stout braising liquid into a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Reduce by approximately half or until the liquid begins to thicken to a syrup-like consistency. Once the consistency is reached, remove from the heat. Immediately, begin whisking in the cold cubed butter, 3 – 4 cubes at a time until the liquid resembles a caramel.
Dip the bacon on a stick into the heated caramel and serve.