Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pork Belly- Honey Cider Vinegar Carmelized a la Novelli

After watching Season 1, episode 7 of Bravo's Chef Academy, I have been obsessed with the Honey Cider Vinegar Carmelized Pork Belly Chef Novelli demonstrated. Of all the meat dishes he presented in this epsiode, it was not used in the challenge nor was the recipe posted on the Bravo site.

With my mouth drooling over the presented entree, I searched all over for that same recipe. Couldn't find it on the internet, so I just used my intuitive skills, a long with the ingredients he used and I came up with what I think is a similar rendition of the recipe.

Ingredients listed on show:
Whole pork belly
Star anise
bay leaf
cider vinegar

Oven was pre heated to 325 degrees. I believe the instructions given on the show stated the pork belly would be cooked in the oven for 1-2 hours. I actually cooked it for 90 minutes with dutch oven top on and then removed the top and cooked for an additional 10 minutes to get my oven back up to temp. I then turned off the oven and let the pork belly finish the carmelizing process. Don't open the oven during this last 30 minutes.

In addition to these ingredients, it appeared that the pork belly on the show had the meat side seasoned with salt and pepper.

I seasoned the belly with the salt, pepper and cumin. I didn't measure the amounts but relied on what looked like enough.

I then browned each side in a cast iron like dutch oven.

I added 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme, 2-3 dry bay leaves (I didn't have fresh), one medium onion cut into big chunks, 4 star anise, about 1/2 cup honey and 1 cup apple cider vinegar.

The dutch oven was placed in the oven and cooked as described above.  I did attempt to crisp the skin some using a blow torch. I abandoned that idea as it didn't add to the presentation.

I really loved the flavor of the carmelized applecider vinegar and honey. The texture of the pork belly was heavenly. I love that gooey fat and the seasonings flavored the meat just right for me. Served on a white corn tortilla, I was in heaven.

Addemdum 1-12-10:
The recipe was prepared on the final Episodes 8 and 9.  There was a problem noted by the chefs which led two of the chefs to get into a heated argument.  Apparently after one hour the pork belly did not have the correct color.  Zoe suggested that all it needed was more time in the oven.  The others disagreed with her.  Later in the show they disclosed that they cooked the pork belly for 5 hours and it was Chef Novelli noted it was possibly over done.  What I noticed is that in episode 7 the pork belly was cooked covered in the enamel on cast iron dut oven.  However, in episode 8-9, it was started uncovered in the oven. 

In this last episode, Chef Novelli stated that it should cook for 4 hours but I thought he said in epsiode 7 that it should cook 1-2 hours.  I did get very good carmelization with my process.  I suggest flexibility when cooking this and allow between 2  and 3 hours.


maltese parakeet said...

yum! i imagine you watching the episode like the zapruder film, pausing and rewinding to take notes on ingredients & technique! :)

Sylvie said...

In the last 24 hours since I posted this take on Chef Novelli's pork belly, I have had 12 visitors who found my site based on their search for the recipe. I wasn't by myself in the quest to make this dish. Lots of folks were out there drooling like me.

lbdawg1 said...

All I can say is YES INDEED! That dish really made my mouth water and I couldnt wait to try and find the recipe, and like you stated , I couldnt find anything until this post, so for that I say thank you thank you thank you! LOL

The Duo Dishes said...

So glad to have found your blog! Adding you to the Rss feed for sure. Pork belly is next on the list, so this is great to see. Thanks for sharing!

wine reviews said...

Pork Belly mmmmm Yummy! Looks like you really know your pig! Cheers!

Marita said...

I'm making this right now, and am wondering what I could serve it with inside the corn tortilla. Your regular ol' taco fixings perhaps? I always like to add something as raw and fresh as possible to our meat dishes.
Also, do you shred the meat before putting it inside the tortilla? I've never had pork tacos before, I don't think. Can't wait to try, it sure smells yummy. I sauteed the onions with the meat, and added some chopped celery stalks to it as well. We shall see what it tastes like...