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Braised Pork Belly in Butter Lettuce Cups with Pickled Cucumbers & Jalapeños

Pedro Duarte , SUSHISAMBA restaurants - June 12th, 2014

Pork belly:

  • 15 lbs. untrimmed pork belly
  • 2 gal. veal stock
  • 2 bottles red wine
  • 1/2 gal. mirin, flambéed
  • 1/4 gal. sake, flambéed
  • 2 lbs. lemongrass, cleaned and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 oz. or 6 pcs. cinnamon sticks
  • 4 oz. garlic, smashed
  • 1 oz. star anise
  • 5 oz. ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 5g bay leaves
  • 1 oz. whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bunches cilantro
  • 3 lbs. celery, roughly chopped
  • 3 lbs. carrots, roughly chopped
  • 4 lbs. red onions, roughly chopped

In large sauté pan over medium-high heat, sear pork belly on all sides until golden brown; remove from pan; place in deep hotel pan; add veal stock, red wine, mirin, and sake; add remaining aromatics and vegetables, making sure pork belly is completely submerged in liquid with ingredients spread evenly; cover tightly with aluminum foil; braise in preheated 225˚F oven 3 to 5 hours; remove from liquid; cut into 3/4 to 1 oz. portion squares; reserve.

Pickled cucumbers and jalapeños:

  • 2 qts. rice vinegar
  • 2 lbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 oz. salt
  • 4 cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, then in 1” long slices
  • 8 jalapeño peppers, cut in half, seeds removed, and cut into 1/4” slices
  • 1/2 oz. whole black peppercorns
  • 3g bay leaves
  • 4g star anise

Whisk vinegar, sugar, and salt together in large bowl until sugar is dissolved; add cucumber and jalapeños; place peppercorns, bay leaves, and star anise in cheesecloth; submerge in vinegar; pickle 24 hours; remove cucumber and jalapeño from liquid; store in air-tight container in refrigerator.

Assembly:

  • butter lettuce
  • cherry tomato
  • red radish, julienned
  • micro red shiso

Place reserved pork belly on butter lettuce; top with reserved pickled cucumber and jalapeño; garnish with cherry tomato, radish, and micro shiso.