Angus McRitchie
Pork belly with shrimp, radishes & peas from executive chef Ben Heaton of The Grove, Toronto
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Pork Belly with Shrimp, Radishes & Peas

Ben Heaton, The Grove, Toronto / November 2012

For 20 servings (requires advance preparation)

Pork belly:

  • 1 pork belly, brined as desired and skinned
  • 2 Tbsps. olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 cups cider
  1. Heat oven to 325°F.

  2. Place pork belly in large hotel pan; reserve.

  3. Heat oil in large sauté pan set over low heat; add garlic, shallots, and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent; add bay leaves and thyme; cook 30 seconds; add stock and cider; bring to a boil; remove from heat; pour over pork belly; cover with aluminum foil; braise until pork is soft, giving, and wobbly (about 4 hours); remove from heat; let cool.

  4. Remove pork belly from liquid; place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper; cover with another sheet of parchment paper; weight to press belly; reserve in refrigerator overnight.

  5. Once cool, pour braising liquid into airtight container; cover; reserve in refrigerator.

  6. Heat a smoker with applewood coal to low; smoke pork belly 15 to 20 minutes; remove from smoker; place on cutting board; cut into 4 oz. strips; reserve (keep warm).

  7. Strain reserved braising liquid through fine chinois into a saucepan; skim fat; bring to a boil; reduce by 75 percent; reserve (keep warm).

Shrimp:

  • 20 U-15 heads-on shrimp
  • 2 Tbsps. olive oil
  • 1 sm. onion, cut into sm. dice
  • 1 carrot, cut into sm. dice
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into sm. dice
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 2 oz. Cognac
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  1. Peel shrimp; reserve shrimp, heads, and shells separately.

  2. Heat oil in sauté pan set over low heat; add shrimp heads and shells; cook, stirring occasionally, until brown; add onion, carrot, celery, lemongrass, and tomato paste; increase heat to medium-high; add Cognac; bring to a boil; cook until pan is almost dry; add stock; bring to a boil; reduce heat to low; simmer 30 minutes; remove from heat; strain through fine chinois into a saucepan; skim; reduce by 50 percent; add pork liquid; reserve (keep warm).

Pea puree:

  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 9 Tbsps. chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground

Bring peas and stock to a boil; remove from heat; place in a blender; blend until smooth; with motor running, gradually add butter one piece at a time; blend until emulsified; season; cool; place in airtight container; cover; reserve in refrigerator.

Assembly:

  • 2 Tbsps. olive oil
  • 1 to 2 Tbsps. unsalted butter
  • fresh peas, shelled and blanched
  • mixed radishes, thinly sliced
  • pea tendrils and flowers
  1. To set up a serving, heat oil in large sauté pan set over high heat; add pork belly; cook until brown and crispy on all sides and soft in the center; remove from pan; place on a platter; add shrimp to pan; cook until cooked through and crispy; remove from pan; place on platter with pork belly; reserve (keep warm).

  2. To serve, heat small amount of reserved reduction in small saucepan; add butter; blend with hand blender until bubbly and combined; place each piece of pork belly in a serving bowl; top with shrimp; drizzle sauce around; scatter peas, radishes, tendrils, and flowers around; garnish with small dollop of pea puree.

What to drink: Norman Hardie “Unfiltered” Pinot Noir Prince Edward County Ontario 2009