Recipe: Maple-Braised Pork Belly | Recipes | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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Recipe: Maple-Braised Pork Belly 

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RECIPE
Maple-Braised Pork Belly
2 pounds pastured pork belly, skin on

Spice rub:
1 tablespoon coffee beans
4 allspice berries
1 star anise pod
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
¼ cup kosher or sea salt
1 dried red chili, stem and seeds removed (arbol, ancho, or cereza)

Braise:
2.5 gallons of maple sap
1 onion, halved
2 carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
1 celery stalk, quartered lengthwise
1 whole dried red chili (arbol, ancho, or cereza)

Grind all the spices together. Rub the pork all over with the spice rub and refrigerate it, covered, overnight. Reduce 2.5 gallons of maple sap down to half a gallon. Rinse the rub off the belly and pat dry. Hot-smoke the meat for an hour, then put the meat in a deep ovenproof pan large enough to hold it laying flat. Pour in reduced sap, add onion, carrot, celery, and chili, and bring to a simmer, then cover and move to a 200˚F oven for four hours. (Omit the smoking if you don't have a smoker, or grill it over indirect heat.)

Remove the meat from the pan carefully, since it will be very tender, and put it on a cutting board skin side up. Remove the skin and save it for cooking beans. Strain the vegetables out of the sap and discard them. Return the sap to the pan over high heat and reduce it to syrup. Watch it carefully as it reduces, since it can burn easily once it gets thick. Cut the belly into pieces about two inches square, and brown each square in a pan before serving. Place each piece on parsnip purée and glaze with some of the syrup. Garnish with wild garlic chives.

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