Rob Keene's Crisp Pork Belly and Baked Beans

6:32 PM, Jan 10, 2014   |    comments
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Rob Keene is Executive Chef at Sugarloaf, and is running their newest restaurant, 45 North. 45 North focuses on modern Maine comfort foods.

For more information on the restaurant click here: 45 NORTH


Pork belly
Serves 4 as entrée
1 2# piece of pork belly, skin on
½ c Kosher salt.
¼ cup Granulated sugar.
1 qt rendered duck fat
1T molasses

1) Two days before, coat the raw pork belly in salt and sugar, wrap, and allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator.
2) The next day, brush off the sugar-salt mixture and place the pork belly in a small saucepot with the melted duck fat. Cook on very low heat for 2-3 hours, or until it is fall apart tender and the skin is easily torn. Alternately, this can be done in a 250 degree oven, as long as the belly is totally covered with the fat. Allow to come to room temp in the fat.
3) Place the belly on a plate, being careful to remove it with a large spatula or slotted spoon. Cover with another plate and weigh down with a 28 oz can of tomatoes or another similar weight. The duck fat can be strained and used again.
4) The next day, remove the belly from the refrigerator and score the skin in a crosshatch pattern at 1cm intervals with a sharp knife. Take care not to score to deeply. Cut the belly into four pieces. 
5) Preheat the broiler. Begin to warm some of your favorite baked beans (our recipe follows). Place The belly pieces in a dry, non-stick pan over very low heat skin side down. When fat begins to render out, gently press the belly pieces with a spatula. Allow the belly pieces to cook slowly till crisp and golden. Then flip them and brush lightly with molasses. Place the pan under the broiler to caramelize the molasses (30 seconds to 1 minute). We like to allow them to char slightly.
Place crisp pork belly on top of warm beans.  We like to accompany the pork and beans with a drizzle more of molasses and some pickled vegetables.

Baked beans
1# Dry Navy Beans
4 slices bacon, roughly chopped
1 onion, large dice
1 c molasses
4 oz tomato paste
Sherry vinegar to taste
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1T Dijon mustard
1)The day before, soak the beans in cold water.
2)The next day, cover the beans with water, bring them to a boil, and allow them to sit for one hour.
3) Meanwhile, sweat the onions with the bacon in a large saucepot over low flame. When the bacon is crisp and the onion translucent, add thedrained beans, molasses, tomato paste, and enough cold water to cover by three inches. Wrap the pot with foil and braise in a 250 oven for seven hours or until just tender. 
4)Transfer the bean pot to a stovetop and turn flame under it on low. Bring to simmer and season with sherry vinegar, salt and pepper. Simmer till done and season with Dijon.

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