Chris Cooks

Crispy Pork Belly + Roasted Potatoes, Kale Pesto and Black Currants: Pt. 1

May 8, 2013  —  Written by Chris 

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So… we started that whole “Julia Loves Chris” blog, and then realized it was kinda pointless to have two separate blogs. So I’ll be posting my food stuff 3 times a week here instead. 

As promised, I’m gonna share my crispy pork belly and roasted potatoes recipe today, but I’m gonna do it in 2 installments – one today and one on Friday. It’s not necessarily “difficult”, but there are a few steps to it and I want to make sure each part of the dish receives the attention it deserves. Today, the pork.

Taken at night, with my phone. Forgiveness, please.

Fun fact. Pork belly is where bacon comes from. So if you like bacon (bahaha, I said “if”), then you’ll like pork belly. You’ll quickly realize that pork belly is not easy to find. If your butcher doesn’t carry it, most can order it in but it can be pricey that way. Lucky for me there’s a legit Asian market about 1 mile from where I work that sells pork belly, so that’s where I get mine. So maybe search around for some Asian markets and see if they have a butcher. If they do, they’ll probably have pork belly.

I cooked this pork in a pressure cooker. You can slow braise it or even cook it in the crock pot as well, but you’ll need to add 6 hours or so to the cooking time. Maybe longer. When cooking in a pressure cooker, there are a couple things to note. First, don’t mess with it once it’s going. I ran a cloth along the top to dry the lid and my cloth barely touched one of the rubber plugs that regulates the pressure. The plus shot out and hot, meaty juices erupted all over my kitchen and dining room. I mean, all over. It took me a couple hours to clean everything up. Second, you need to let the pressure come down on its own. Don’t rush it.

Here’s what you see in the picture:
• pork belly in pressure cooker in 1 layer. Don’t stack.
• 1 onion, cut into chunks.
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed, but not cut up
• 2 bay leaves

Here’s what you don’t see in the picture:
• 2 cups apple juice
• 1 cup water
• 1/4 worcestershire sauce
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

The ingredients you don’t see are all in the liquid. Just mix them together and pour them into the pressure cooker. Seal the pressure cooker and keep the pressure high as you cook for about 1 hour. At one hour, remove the cooker from the heat and let the pressure come down on its own. Should take about 20 minutes or so. Heat a frying pan over medium/medium-low heat

Remove the pork carefully. It will be very tender, so take special care. Unless you’re a ninja master with the tongs, I’d suggest using a couple of spatulas or something where you can get under it, not pinch it. Set the pork, fattiest side down, on a double layer of paper towel to remove some of the moisture. Place your pork in your heated frying pan, fattiest side down. You don’t need to add oil. Cook until the fat develops a crust, then flip and do the same to the other side.

And that’s the pork. Not too difficult. On Friday I’ll talk about the potatoes and what you’ll be doing during the hour the pork is in the pressure cooker. You’ll definitely want to check it out, especially if you:
• think roasted potatoes are boring
• can’t keep potatoes from sticking to the pan
• don’t care for kale
• have never made pesto

If that’s not enough motivation, then here’s a little peak at the finished product:

See ya Friday, friends.

What do you think?

  1. Soren says:

    Hi! I have this in the pan now, after using my instant pot pressure cooker.

    Re:subs. I used strong brewed apple tea instead of apple juice bc we don’t do sugar. I also lef5 out the bay leaves (thought I had but alas, no) and while I did use the Worcestershire sauce (1/4 c) I think soy and some additional pepper and maybe 2T of vinegar would sub.

  2. Can you be more specific on the worcestershire sauce measurement? Is that 1/4 cup or 1/4 tsp?

  3. Megan says:

    Just regarding the pork belly recipe…..dont have bay leaves, apple juice, or w/sauce….is there alternatives?

  4. Megan Ama says:

    I’m with Jenny. I think it is great to have the recipes and house posts on one blog. It doesn’t seem like either of you will be posting any less by having them on the same blog, so just prevents me having to go to two separate sites. I’m loving both of what you guys are up to these days. And also, this recipe makes me want to get over my fear of the pressure cooker. Got it for a gift last year and haven’t tried out yet. Thanks for the motivation!

  5. Jenny Park says:

    I love food and home renovations so it is FABULOUS that I can find both on one blog now…yippee! What better idea than to eat beautifully tasty prepared food in a beautiful home? And to show that you can enjoy life along the journey of home renovations/improvements…you don’t have to wait for everything to be perfect in order to just enjoy your home! Keep making yummy recipes and yummy eye candy from home projects! (And as a side note we just made your apple salad AND painted our dresser your wall color in the same day….so I would say your blog is hit over here at the Park house). Thanks!!!!

  6. In the spirit of constructive feedback, posting the entire recipe for the entire dish at one time would be better from the perspective of: 1. I am more interested in the kale pesto recipe than the pork belly so I could just get that and go and 2. now I have to wait two days for the recipe I really want…not user friendly and I would lose interest. I am also in the probable minority camp of not a big fan of recipes mixed in with home improvement posts, but that’s just me…I love both blogs, just separately. The idea of food interspersed with paint and drywall isn’t so appetizing. It’s why I don’t grocery shop at Walmart ;-) It’s hard to please everyone.

    • I definitely agree about posting the entire recipe together. Unfortunately, my day was so packed yesterday that I knew I wouldn’t have time to do the entire meal justice in the time I had to write, so I decided to split it up. I’ll be sure to keep them together whenever possible, and I’ll definitely make the second part worth the wait. :)

      Thanks Linda!

  7. Alison says:

    Maybe I’m in the minority but I’m not really a fan of the recipes being on this blog. I love reading about your home improvement projects, but find it confusing to link over and see recipes…

    • Thanks for the feedback, Alison. We went back and forth about it, but decided it would be for the best for us. We hope it doesn’t turn you away! We’d love to keep you as a reader. :)

  8. Rydog says:

    What flavor do currants have, and would I just get them in the spice section?

    • Currants are a type of grape. I use the dried version, so basically raisins. You could use raisins if you wanted, but they taste a little differently. But either way, you can find zante currants by the raisins in most grocery stores.

  9. Annemie says:

    Looks fab! Will have to look into getting pork belly from our butcher. Technical question, is there going to be a separate label for all the cooking related posts so you can easily find them all together? And are the recipes from Julia loves Chris going to be reposted here / put in the archive so we don’t forget not to put knives in the sink? :-) I don’t really know how hassle free that can be done but I would regret to see those posts get forgotten!

    • Hi Annemie! Yes, I’m going to be moving those posts over here. Won’t be too difficult – should have them on this blog by tomorrow. As far as the label – Jules has been adding “chris cooks” as a label to my food posts. I forgot on this one. I’ll add it to this and the others we’ll be pulling from the other blog, so you can see them easily.

      Thanks Annemie! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  10. Rebecca says:

    O. M. G. instantly hungry!

  11. AviLynn says:

    Looks so good!!!

  12. I have pork belly in the fridge right now, waiting to be cooked into something delicious (it’s pretty easy to find here in Spain). Thanks for the inspiration!

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