Braised Pork Belly with Apple and Fennel

When it comes to comfort food, few dishes can rival the rich and succulent flavors of braised pork belly. This melt-in-your-mouth delicacy is a favorite in many cuisines around the world, and for good reason. The combination of tender pork belly, sweet apples, and aromatic fennel creates a harmonious blend of flavors that will leave you craving for more. In this article, we will explore the art of braising pork belly with apple and fennel, and provide you with a delicious recipe to try at home.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds of pork belly, skin removed
  • 2 apples, cored and sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Step 1: Prepare the Pork Belly

Start by patting the pork belly dry with paper towels. This will help the skin crisp up during cooking. Season the pork belly generously with salt and pepper on both sides.

Step 2: Sear the Pork Belly

Heat a large, oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place the pork belly in the skillet, fat side down, and sear it for about 5 minutes until it turns golden brown. Flip the pork belly and sear the other side for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the pork belly from the skillet and set it aside.

Step 3: Sauté the Apples, Fennel, and Garlic

In the same skillet, add the sliced apples, fennel, and minced garlic. Sauté them for about 5 minutes until they start to soften and caramelize.

Step 4: Deglaze the Pan

Pour the apple cider into the skillet and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. This will add depth of flavor to the dish.

Step 5: Braise the Pork Belly

Return the seared pork belly to the skillet, placing it on top of the sautéed apples and fennel. Add the chicken or vegetable broth, soy sauce, honey, and dried thyme to the skillet. The liquid should come about halfway up the sides of the pork belly.

Step 6: Cook in the Oven

Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C). Cover the skillet with a lid or aluminum foil and transfer it to the oven. Let the pork belly braise for 2 to 2.5 hours, or until it becomes tender and easily pulls apart with a fork.

Step 7: Serve and Enjoy

Once the pork belly is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. Slice the pork belly into thick pieces and serve it with the braised apples, fennel, and pan juices. This dish pairs well with mashed potatoes or crusty bread.

Now that you have mastered the art of braised pork belly with apple and fennel, you can impress your family and friends with this delectable dish. The combination of tender pork belly, sweet apples, and aromatic fennel creates a symphony of flavors that will leave everyone asking for seconds. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to indulge in a truly satisfying meal.

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