Pork Belly with Grits and Pickled Watermelon

Pork Belly with Grits and Pickled Watermelon

Pork belly, the uncured, unsmoked origin of bacon is perfectly able to be braised and eaten as an appetizer or entrée.  I like to sear the portion in a cast iron pan before serving.  The creamy corn grits with a touch of white cheddar and rosemary and pickled watermelon complete the meal.

Pork Belly

2 pounds, cut into two pieces if possible

2 carrots

2 stalks celery

2 onions

2 cinnamon sticks

5 bay leaves

6 fresh thyme sprigs

4 fresh rosemary sprigs

2 Tablespoons mustard seeds

1 Tablespoon coriander seeds

2 Tablespoons fennel seeds

salt and pepper

immerse in simmering chicken stock for 15 minutes to blanch

remove and place in roasting pan with remaining ingredients

add 2 quarts of chicken stock to pan, cover with foil loosely

season generously with salt and pepper and roast overnight in oven at 200 degrees

Check in the morning, the meat should easily pull away with a spoon, if not, keep cooking.

Watermelon Pickles

2 cups rice wine vinegar

1 c sugar

1 tsp lemon zest

1 watermelon rind 4×4” Squares

1 small red beet sliced

season generously with rib spice

Rib Spice

1 T allspice

1 T clove

1 T coriander

2 ea bay leaf

1 ea vanilla bean

1 T pink peppercorn

1 T cinnamon

2 T kosher salt

toast and grind

toss watermelon with spice mix

boil brine and pour over watermelon, cool

Corn Grits

1 cup hand milled organic corn grits

4 c whole milk

1 cup butter

Salt and pepper

Juice of lemon half

1 c crumbles sharp white cheddar

Season with salt and pepper

Heat 3 cups milk to warm, add ¼ c butter and grits, cook slow and low, stirring frequently 2 hours with wooden spoon.  Finish with lemon juice and sharp white cheddar.

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