Cider-Braised Bacon Recipe
Ingredients:3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds center-cut pork belly
Freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped carrot
1 cup white wine
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken stock or nonfat, low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups apple cider
Directions:ine a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over high heat.
Season the pork belly with salt and pepper and when the oil is very hot but not smoking, place the pork belly in the pan. Sear for 4 minutes, or until a golden crust forms.
Turn the pork belly and add the garlic, apple, onion, celery, and carrot and cook for 4 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to color.
Add the wine, thyme, and bay leaf and continue to cook for about 3 minutes, or until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.
Stir in the stock and cider and bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer for 2 xk hours, or until the pork is fork-tender. Check occasionally to make sure that there is enough liquid to cover the pork belly in the pan. If not, add more stock.
Using tongs, transfer the cider-braised bacon to the prepared baking sheet. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the bacon. Place another pan on top of the parchment paper-covered bacon and then place a weight (a heavy frying pan works well) directly on top of the bacon to press it down. Refrigerate for 12 hours.
Use as directed in a specific recipe, or tightly wrap and store, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.
Rather than use prepared smoked bacons in some of my dishes, I go back to the old days and make my own "bacon." Cider braising adds the sweetness of fruitwood smoking and turns fatty pork belly into a delicious treat. The braising liquid can be strained and used as a rich stock for cooking beans or making soups or gravies.
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