Pork Belly Braise with Caramel Miso
The March, 2012 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Carol, a/k/a Poisonive – and she challenged us all to learn the art of Braising! Carol focused on Michael Ruhlman’s technique and shared with us some of his expertise from his book “Ruhlman’s Twenty”.
Unfortunately I failed this challenge – I didn’t have the patience to cook ‘low & slow’, opting for a higher gas mark & shortened cooking time. However, the resulting braises were tasty. I made a version of the Red Wine braised short ribs, minus the red wine, and the short ribs. Instead, I used chicken stock and oxtail. I didn’t have any tomato puree either so it resulted in a thin slimy soup instead of being luxuriously creamy. I also made the braised pork belly with caramel miso sauce – this tasted slightly better though I’m not too sure if I like pork belly…I also attempted a chocolate chili beef braise, courtesy of Heston Blumenthal for Waitrose. However, I substituted a few too many elements, and the dish ended up tasting horrible. Put me off chocolate for days…
Chocolate Chilli Beef Braise
Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs:
Canola oil, for browning the ribs (can use any mild to non-flavored oil)
Plain/all-purpose flour, for dredging
8 beef short ribs* or 3 1bs (1-1/3 kg) of your choice of meat
2 large onion, cut into a large dice
Kosher Salt, to taste
4 carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 celery stalks cut into 1 inch (2½ cm) pieces
2 tablespoons (30 ml) tomato paste
3 cups (720 ml) Zinfandel or other fruit-heavy red wine (you may use beef stock or a combo with water)
1 head of garlic, cut horizontally
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup (80 ml) honey (you may substitute 2 tablespoons (30ml) brown sugar)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (2 gm) cracked peppercorns
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (½ oz/15 gm) butter, for sautéing
1 pound (450 gm) mushrooms, sliced thin
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1/3 oz/10 gm) minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (1/3 oz/10 gm) minced garlic
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (3/8 oz/12 gm) grated lemon zest.
1. In a heavy ovenproof pot, add enough oil to cover the bottom about ¼” (5 mm).
2. Put some flour on a plate and dredge the short ribs (or your choice of meat) on all sides and shake off the excess.
3. When the oil is hot, add the ribs/meat and brown on all sides – you may have to do this in batches so as not to crowd the pan and steam instead of sear. You want to form a nice crust on the beef meat. There is lots of flavor in this.
4. Remove the ribs/meat and drain on paper towel.
5. Preheat the oven to very low 250°F/125°C/gas mark ½.
6. Drain off any remaining oil, and wipe pot clean.
7. Add a little canola oil to coat the bottom of the pot, add half the onions and cook over medium heat until the onions have softened.
8. Add a sprinkle of salt.
9. Add half the carrots and all the celery (refrigerate the onions and carrots for use later). Cook for 5 minutes – the longer you cook the vegetables and they caramelize you develop flavor – so you can brown them up.
10. Add tomato paste and stir around to heat through.
11. Place the ribs/meat in the pot – its ok if they go on top of each other now.
12. Add the wine (or stock/water if using) – 3 cups is just about the then you can addJentire bottle and if it’s too early to enjoy a glass the entire bottle!
13. Add the garlic – its ok for the cloves to be unpeeled but remove the outer layers.
14. Add the bay leaves.
15. Season with a sprinkle of salt.
16. Add the honey and peppercorns.
17. Bring to a simmer.
18. Cover pot with the lid ajar or make a parchment lid to fit.
19. Place in the oven and cook for 4 hours – go shopping, gardening, clean the house, surf the net – but you have 4 hours to enjoy!
20. Remove the pot from the oven and allow cooling. Remove ribs meat and place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
21. Strain the braising liquid and allow chilling – then removing the congealed fat.
22. Sear mushrooms by placing them in a hot dry sauté or frying pan and cook for a minute or two each side, while pressing down with the spatula.
23. Melt butter in your braising pot.
24. Add the remaining onions and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes.
25. Add ribs and mushrooms.
26. Add the reserved braising liquid.
27. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until carrots a fork tender.
28. For the Gremolata, stir together the parsley, garlic and lemon zest. Don’t skip this part – the Gremolata adds so much to this dish. You can also use orange zest too!
29. Serve ribs with mashed potato, buttered egg noodles or polenta – garnish with the Gremolata.
Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
The ribs/meat may be prepared 1-2 days in advance. Ensure that the ribs/meat is are covered in plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.
Braised Pork Belly with Caramel Miso Sauce:
1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (5 gm) coriander seeds
1 ½ teaspoons ( 7½ ml) (5 gm) black peppercorns
3 pounds (1-1/3 kg) pork belly (with rind)
2 bay leaves
1 large onion, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, smashed with the flat side of the knife
1 cup (240 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (½ oz/15 gm) scallions (green/spring onions),, chopped
Red Pepper – Flaked
Easy Carmel-Butter Sauce
½ cup (120 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) sugar
4 tablespoons (60 ml) (60 gm/2 oz) butter
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (½ oz/15 gm) butter
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (¼ oz/7 gm) minced shallot (eschalot)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup (120 ml) pork braising liquid
¼ cup (60 ml) easy caramel sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) shiro miso
2 tablespoons (30 ml) red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fish sauce.
Directions – Braised Pork
1. Roast coriander and peppercorn in a dry (i.e. no oil needed) sauté pan over medium-high heat until fragrant – 2 minutes – and crush with mortar and pestle.
2. Preheat oven to very slow 250°F/125°C/gas mark ½.
3. Season pork well with salt, Place it fat side up in a baking dish.
4. Scatter the bay leaves, onion and garlic over the pork – add orange juice and cover the dish tightly with aluminium foil.
5. Place in oven for 6 hours or until pork is fork tender – you can do plenty of other things in these 6 hours! Enjoy!
6. Allow to cool in juices, then cover, refrigerate, at least over night and up to 5 days.,
7. Remove pork from dish, scrape off seasonings and cut into 12 equal cubes – at this point, it is a basic braised pork that you may use for a stir fry or sautéed until crispy and serve with a salad.
8. Coat the bottom of a non-stick pork with canola oil and place over medium high heat.
9. Sear pork pieces on all sides.
10. Add the glaze and coat the pork.
11. Plate – and garnish with scallions and red pepper flakes.
Directions – Easy Carmel Sauce
1. Put sugar in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat. Do not stir.
2. When edges turn brown – swirl to distribute – a small stir is ok – but make sure your spatula is heat proof. WARNING – sugar is very HOT!
3. When sugar is dark amber, add butter and ¼ cup (60 ml) of water.
4. Stir until bubbles subside – it bubbles quickly – simmer for a minute.
5. Remove from heat and our into a heat proof container.
Directions – Carmel- Miso Sauce
1. In a small sauté pan, melt butter over medium-high heat.
2. Add shallot and garlic and sauté till translucent.
3. Season with a sprinkle of salt and some freshly ground pepper.
4. Add pork braising liquid, caramel sauce, miso, red wine vinegar, soy sauce and fish sauce.
5. Bring to a simmer – cook for ½ a minute or so and remove from heat.
Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
The braised pork may be made up to 5 days in advance. It may be frozen as well. The caramel sauce will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator