Every year when Thanksgiving rolls around, I can't believe how quickly this year has gone. The holiday spirit comes rushing in, only to be quickly swept away with the beginning of the new year. This year, I'm celebrating the holidays by eloping in Italy (!!!). I can't think of a better way to celebrate Christmas than to walk around the streets of Rome and Florence, snacking on gelato and stuffing myself with pasta. Be ready for loads of Italian recipes when I return. Until then, I will be enjoying this flavor-packed herb roasted pork belly with shallot mustard sauce. A great dinner for Christmas or any ordinary weeknight!
Herb Roasted Pork Belly with Shallot Mustard Sauce
Herb roasted pork belly
- 2 lb pork belly skin on
- salt and pepper
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ cup white wine such as Chardonnay
Shallot mustard sauce
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- ½ cup braising liquid
- ½ tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon butter
- salt and pepper
- Prepare marinade for pork belly. Season the pork belly with salt and pepper. Combine minced garlic with juice of ½ lemon, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, ½ cup water, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, an 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, stirring to combine. Pour marinade over pork belly and marinade for at least 1 hour or overnight. Let come to room temperature for 30 minutes before braising.
- Place pork skin side facing up in the instant pot along with the marinade and ½ cup white wine. Set options to pressure cook on high for 1 hour. Release steam when 1 hour has ended. Pork belly should be fork tender and easily tear apart.
- Remove pork belly from the instant pot. Heat medium non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and carefully lay pork belly, fat side down on the pan. Sear until browned and caramelized about 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and let rest for 10 minutes.
- In the same pan, add shallot and garlic and saute for 30 seconds or until lightly browned. Add ½ cup of the braising liquid, ½ tablespoon mustard and 2 sage leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Add butter and season with salt and pepper. Slice pork belly into slices and serve with shallot mustard sauce.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Braising is a long cooking process. You are essentially stewing the meat in a liquid at a low temperature for a long period of time. As a result, the meat soaks up the liquid and becomes oh so tender. It's a great way to turn a tough, cheap cut of meat into a wonderful main entree at a low cost.
Today I chose to prepare pork belly. Pork belly is not a cheap, tough cut of meat but when it's braised, the fat cap melts and becomes insanely delicious. You can go the traditional route and use an oven or go the speedy way and use a pressure cooker or instant pot (my new favorite cooking device!).
Although this dish takes a long time to cook, you're really just letting the pork belly sit there so there is a lot of downtime. First, marinade. Next, braise. Then, use the cooking juices to make a sauce. Lastly, sear. Easy right?
Usually, when you braise meats, you first sear the meat then braise it. I chose to switch the method because of the type of meat. When you are braising, the steam from the liquid makes the top fat cap lose its crispiness. I want the top fat cap to stay nice and crispy when ready to eat, hence braise first, sear later.
If you are using a giant slab of pork belly, wait for it to cool slightly before slicing. Since the meat will be very tender, it may just fall apart under the pressure of your knife. Wait about 15 minutes and give it a try.
While the pork belly is resting, make the sauce. The braising liquid has so much flavor already that we're going to use that as the base. Add a little garlic, shallots, mustard, sage, and butter and you have one beautiful balanced sauce that pairs perfectly with the meat.
This herb roasted pork belly with shallot mustard sauce is a real winner in my book. The marinade alone has so much flavor that you only need to add a few ingredients to turn it into a fabulous sauce. Pork belly for the win!
For more pork inspiration check out these braised pork belly baos!