Right now, I’m sitting at my desk eating Alaskan-sourced king crab and salmon. (No, I am NOT sharing). The sun is shining brightly, which is a giant tease because it looks like it should be warm outside. My blog is due today, and I’ve spent the last hour trying like crazy to figure out what to write about. So we’re going to talk about pork belly slow cooked in duck fat. Why? Because it’s way cooler to discuss pork than it is to discuss me sitting at my desk and pondering my belly button. That’s a known fact.
You all should know that I have a little bit of an unhealthy obsession with Thomas Keller. Let’s face it. Chef Keller is cooler than 99% of the world population (including me). When I bought my first Keller cookbook, I got that same giddy feeling that you get when you meet a cute boy. In fact, when I got home from Borders, I was so excited that I took mass quantities of unnecessary photos– because I couldn’t believe I actually had a copy of Ad Hoc at Home in my house. (Let’s just hope that the next time I have a boy in my house, I don’t take 500 unnecessary photos of him. It might not turn out well.)
About halfway into this cookbook, Keller features a recipe for Pork Belly Confit. In layman’s terms, this is pork belly that is brined overnight and then slow cooked in loads of duck fat for what feels like 85 years. After the braising process is complete, the pork then sits in the fridge (while still soaking in fat) overnight. And finally, after all is said and done, the excess fat is removed and the pork is seared to a golden brown deliciousness.
First, let me just tell you that the experience of going up to the butcher and asking for a slab of pork belly and a giant tub of duck fat is one that you will never forget. Secondly, the experience of making this dish (and spending about 4 full days from start to finish) is wildly gratifying and almost meditative. When done properly, pork belly confit is juicy, melt-in-your-mouth tender, and will stop your friends, family, and neighbors in their tracks. I can guarantee you that they will be licking the plates once it’s all gone.
Have any of you ever created a dish that you loved so much that you dream about it in your sleep? Please don’t hesitate to share! I always love to hear your stories!