Aleksandra Crapanzano takes a look at the city’s finest food offerings in The London Cookbook.
Japanese braised pork belly is every bit of rich and fatty that you’d expect. Slow cooking it gives it that desirable melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- Cut the pork belly into 3 by 5 inch brick-sized pieces, leaving the thick fatty skin on, but scoring it with a sharp knife.
- Heat a large heavy skillet. Working in batches, sear the pork, starting fat side down, for a solid ten minutes. Place the pork in a stockpot and add enough water to cover it. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook at a rolling boil for 90 minutes. This will get rid of much of the fat and leave most of the collagen. Let the pork cool to room temperature in the cooking liquid.
- Discard the cooking liquid. Cut the pork into 21⁄2 -inch chunks. Combine the ingredients in your choice of braising liquid. Place the meat and braising liquid in a large covered braising pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat for 2 to 3 hours until unctuous and tender.
- Transfer half of the braising liquid to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Cook until it has thickened and reduced by two-thirds. It will be deliriously silky. Warm the pork through and serve with a few generous spoonfuls of the reduced sauce. The julienned green onions scattered on top add a touch of color. Serve with or without rice.
Reprinted with permission from The London Cookbook, copyright 2016 Aleksandra Crapanzano. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.