Love pork belly? Never had pork belly? Never mind. Just try this.
I bet you’ve had pork belly before whether you realize it or not. If you cure it and possibly smoke it, you have bacon – everybody’s favorite food group.
But if you can get your hands on it before it gets baconed (ask any decent butcher), you can roast it low and slow and then it turns into an entirely different thing. Toss the roasted belly with some root vegetables, and you too can make this sweet potato and pork belly hash!
Also known as the best thing you’ll eat this week.
I pride myself in not being a liar so I’ll just come out and say it: This recipe involves some planning and work. Pork belly isn’t the most friendly cut to work with because it’s mostly fat and you have to take your time breaking that fat down.
The best way to do this is to place your pork belly in a baking dish, score the top of the belly (which will help the fat render out), and then season it liberally with salt, pepper, and dried thyme. I also recommend pouring about a cup of boiling chicken stock around the pork. That extra liquid will speed up the rendering process.
Roast your belly at 300ºF for four hours. I recommend roasting it covered with foil for two hours and then uncovering it and roasting it for another two hours.
This isn’t hard in the slightest. You can go watch a movie or something while it roasts. You don’t need to watch it closely. Just let it do its thing.
After four hours of roasting, you’ll have these browned strips of belly. They may not look like anything special, but trust me when I say they're delicious!
Now go to bed. Seriously. Just let this cool off and stick it in the fridge so you can make the hash in the morning.
When you’re good and hungry, take out you pork belly and chop it into 1/2-inch cubes. If your belly has the skin on it, you can cut it off or leave it on. If you leave it on, you’ll have a layer of crunchy crackling crust on each cube. Your call.
Add the belly cubes to a large skillet over medium heat. The fat in the belly will immediately start rendering out and the cubes will get super-crispy after cooking for about 10-12 minutes.
Now scoop out the belly and keep all that rendered fat so we can cook the other stuff in it. Once you’ve removed the belly, add in all the potatoes (peeled and cubed)!
Cook those until they are tender and starting to brown around the edges, maybe 12-15 minutes.
Then add the sprouts. If you have large sprouts, quarter them. If you have small ones, you can halve them.
Cook everything together until the sprouts are tender, probably another 6-7 minutes.
Meanwhile, you can mix up the glaze. It’s a simple mix of molasses, honey, and red pepper flakes, but it completely makes the dish. Don’t skip it!
When your hash is done, add the pork belly back in and season the hash with salt and pepper. Then fry a few eggs and serve the eggs over the hash with a drizzle of the molasses-honey mixture.
To be honest, I don’t consider this dish to be technically difficult. It just requires some planning and time, but all the steps are pretty basic and the final result is worth every minute.
Try this out if you want to experience hash heaven!
Nick thinks pork belly is approximately 10 times better than bacon! Check out his blog, Macheesmo, and follow him on his Tablespoon Profile.