so the chef and i got in a pretty big argument the other day. he asked me to drive him to the butcher shop, which i gladly did. but when he came out with FIFTEEN POUNDS of pork belly, i was not so happy. “i’m going to make pancetta,” he said. “and think of all the home-cured bacon!” i thought he’d lost his mind. fifteen pounds of pork belly means i had to lose the bottom two crisper drawers in my fridge… for three weeks. but it turned out to be a small price to pay.
so this is my formal, printed-on-the-internet apology for doubting the chef — and for being grouchy the drive home from the butcher shop. i mean, look at this dinner. what a jerk i was!
i’d like to think that if you came home to a piece of meat that spanned your entire dining room table you’d be a bit upset, as well. bewildered, at least.
this is kind of a DIY dinner project. use any seasonings you like, but the process is the same.
start by separating the meat from the skin. this thing is literally a pig’s belly. skin, nipples and all!
next, the chef cut the meat into sections: a small portion for our dinner the first night, then halved the rest to cure bacon and pancetta. two topics for another day, trust me.
we used about a pound of pork belly for this recipe.
we used pepper, thyme, salt, and lemon zest on our pork.
score the fatty part of the pork, then really massage the seasonings all over the meat. you score the meat so there are crevasses for the seasonings to get down into. it helps the flavor really penetrate the meat.
this is a low and slow cooked meal.
set the oven for 325 and cook for 2.5 hours.
prepare yourself — the whole house will smell like heaven!
i would shout it from a mountain top, but i think these days the internet is more effective. i’m sorry for doubting you, chef! what are we having for dinner tonight?