Recipe courtesy of Comfort

Braised Pork Belly with Juniper and Ginger Beer over Stone Ground Grits

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 6 hr 45 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 3 hr
  • Cook: 3 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

Pork Belly:

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for tossing with arugula

2 tablespoons juniper berries, lightly crushed

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh sage

2 sprigs fresh thyme

One 3 to 4-pound pork belly

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup vegetable oil

4 ribs celery, leaves removed, roughly chopped

2 fresh bay leaves

2 large carrots, roughly chopped

1 head garlic, split

1 large white onion, roughly chopped

1 cup red wine

2 bottles ginger beer, such as Reed's

6 cups rich pork stock

Grits:

3 cups whole milk

3 cups chicken stock

1 1/2 cups stone ground grits (we use Byrd Mill, but Anson Mills is a good substitute)

4 ounces unsalted butter

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Arugula, for serving

Lemon juice, for tossing with arugula

Directions

  1. For the pork belly: Combine the olive oil, juniper berries, rosemary, sage and thyme in a mixing bowl. Add the pork belly, cover, and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to 6 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Remove the belly from the marinade (reserve the marinade) and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Coat the pan with the vegetable oil and carefully sear on both sides until well browned. Remove the belly and reserve.
  4. Add the celery, bay leaves, carrots, garlic, onions and reserved marinade into the pan and cook until the vegetables are lightly browned. Pour in the wine to deglaze, followed by the ginger beer, and then scrape the pan to release the browned bits. Add the stock and the belly, cover, and braise in the oven until fork tender, about 3 hours (time will vary depending on the size of the belly).
  5. For the grits: Combine the milk and stock in a pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and slowly whisk in the grits. Simmer, stirring often, until tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in the butter, and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Remove the pork belly from the braising liquid. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a saucepan. Skim all the fat from the surface, and then cook over medium-high heat until reduced by 40 percent.
  7. Before serving, gently reheat the pork belly in the jus. Serve over the grits and pour a little jus over. Toss the arugula with a little lemon juice and olive oil and place on top.

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