Our idea of a hearty, winter meal often entails a warm medley of seasonal ingredients and bold flavor pairings. So when we came upon Chef Jeff Shields’ recipe for a pork belly confit – paired with an apple ragout, cauliflower puree, and braised greens – we knew something good was in store. As the mastermind behind the delicious menu of Eugene & Co., Chef Shield’s porchetta is comprised of five elements: a pork belly confit, cauliflower puree, roasted turnips, apple ragout, and an apple cider reduction.
For the Pork Belly:
- ½ slab of pork belly
- Curing salt (recipe follows)
- Butchers twine
- Duck fat (enough to cover the pork belly)
- 1 apple, halved
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 whole garlic head, halved
1. Liberally cover both sides of the pork belly with the curing mix and let it cure for at least 12 hours.
2. Rinse off the curing mix and allow the pork belly to dry completely. Tightly roll the belly and tie with butchers twine.
3. Melt the duck fat and pour over the belly. Add the halved apple, garlic, and thyme sprigs.
4. Confit* until the belly is tender, roughly 4 hours.
*Confit is to cook something in fat, on very low heat and very slow. About 200 degrees F.
5. Once the pork belly is tender and cool enough to handle, remove from the fat and completely cool. Remove string and slice into 1 inch pieces.
For the Cauliflower Puree:
- 1 head cauliflower
- Cream and milk
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Olive oil, to taste
1. Toss the cauliflower in bowl with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in a 450F oven until soft and well caramelized.
2. Transfer the mixture to a sauce pot and cover with a mixture of cream and milk. Cook until soft.
3. Puree in a blender until smooth, and season as needed.
For the Turnips:
- 1 pound baby white turnips, halved
- 1 tablespoon ginger, diced
- 1 tablespoon shallot, diced
- 1teaspoon green chili, sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Pork or chicken stock, to taste
1. Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add in the sweet ginger, shallot, and chili. Stirring frequently.
2. Add the turnips and stock and cook until just tender, and the stock has reduced to a glaze. Cool the blend in cooking liquid.
For the Apple Ragout:
- 4 apples, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 small fennel bulb, diced
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1 cup bacon, diced
- 8 ounces hard apple cider
- ½ cup butter
1. Render the bacon in a large pot. Once fully rendered, remove the bacon pieces and set aside. Using the rendered fat, saute the onion, fennel, garlic with butter, until translucent.
2. Add the mustard seeds, and saute until fragrant, making sure not to burn the mixture.
3. Add in the apples and rendered bacon and deglaze with the cider.
4. Cook the mixture until the apples are tender (not mushy) and the sauce has thickened. Season and cool.
For the Cider Reduction:
1 quart apple cider
Reduce cider by ¾, until thick and syrupy.
1. Sear one side of the portioned pork belly in a hot pan. Transfer to the oven and cook until warmed through.
2. Warm the puree, and separately, the turnips in their cooking liquid.
3. Spread puree on bottom of a plate or bowl. Place the turnips on the puree, and the pork on the turnips. Be sure to leave some of the puree and turnips visible.
4. Top with the apple ragout and a drizzle of the reduction. Garnish with micro-greens or baby kale, mustard greens, or mizuna.