Google: “Braising is a combination-cooking method that uses both wet and dry heats: typically, the food is first browned at a high temperature, then simmered in a covered pot in cooking liquid. Braising always calls for cuts of meat that have a higher quantity of fat or are considered tough cuts.”
“Your meat and vegetables should fit the pot. There should be enough room that they aren’t packed on top of each other, but not so much room that the pot looks sparse. Brown your meat first: It develops the flavour and adds a bit of colour. The meat needs to simmer. Don’t leave pot uncovered, the liquid (and a lot of flavour) evaporates.”
Mustard herring had caught my attention while looking for lentil. I saw pork belly looking good and a bit cheap today, so I bought it. Change my menu from lentil vegetables stew to braise menu. This is testing your patience kind of meal: drying, flavouring and cooking pork belly time is long. Worth the wait for my dinner is hearty, comforting and delicious for it’s cold today and serve with white wine. Let’s cook!!!!
1 slab pork belly, about 500 g
60 g sea salt
2 Tsp cracked black pepper
3 sprigs of lemon-thyme
1 onion, pierced with a clove
6 cloves garlic, crushed, divided
4 carrots, cut chunk
3 potatoes, cut chunk
2 bouquet garni, made up of 2 bay leaf, 2 sprigs of lemon-thyme and 2 rosemary sprigs
2 bunches broccolini, cut to bite size
2 shallots, chopped
200 g canned mustard herring, bought
100 g bacon, diced
1 1/2 c lentils, boiled for 2 minutes then drained
2 c vegetables stock
1 c white wine
1/4 c thickened cream
1 tbs butter (OPT)
One day in advance
Wash pork belly and pat it very dry with paper towel and sit in fridge for 1 hour. Put pork belly on chopping board, score a long length line and rub generously with sea salt. Season it with pepper and stuff lemon-thyme sprigs in between the scored lines, then wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
The next day
Bring out pork from fridge to room temperature for about 20-30 minutes. In a sauce pan add 1/2 Tbs oil and sear salted pork fat side for about 2-3 minutes. Put salted pork in a big deep pot and add onion pierced with a clove, 3 garlic, carrots, potatoes and one bouquet garni. Cover with enough water, bring to a simmer for 2 1/2 hours until tender. Bring out carrots and potatoes once they are tender. Set aside. Continue simmer salted pork. Drain and cut salted pork into pieces about 1 inch.
Heat mustard herring in a deep pot. Add shallots and stir for 1 minute. Add bacon, stir well, then add boiled lentils, and broccolini. Cover with stock, and wine, add the remaining 3 garlic and bouquet garni and simmer until the lentils are soft for about 20 minutes. Then add in pork pieces, carrots, and potatoes and cook further 15 minutes. Stir in cream and butter to thicken a bit for about 5 minutes. Serve hot with bread and a glass of white wine. Enjoy!!!!
Note: You can use any lentils of your choice. I use green lentils. You can use any vegetables of your choice. You can omit mustard herring and just add bacon and streaky bacon with fat, mustard and honey.
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