But it gets me upset when I think about the way we in America disrespect the meat we eat. People don't want to eat pig feet or ears or chitterlings or anything that is easily identifiable as part of an animal. We don't even call it pig, but pork. We don't want to eat cow, but want to eat beef and steak and burgers and Rocky Mountain oysters. And of course it's veal instead of calf, or more accurately - infant cow.
I can stand eating vegetables that aren't cooked that great because they are vegetables. But human beings do not need to eat meat in order to survive or even to thrive - so there is no reason we should ever eat meat that is not cooked to perfection. When we eat meat, we should make it worth it. You know what I'm saying?
Pork is - to me - the perfect meat. I could live without beef or chicken or even fish - but I don't think I'd ever stop eating expertly-prepared pork. So that having been said I used the snow day from work as an excuse to make some braised pork belly with ALL the fat still attached. Mmm. (Read this Slate.com article about why eating lard is not as bad as you thought it was.)
Step by step. (Oooh baby.)
This is some pork belly cut up into pieces maybe an inch (?) thick. Marinate it in dark soy sauce, light soy sauce and a little sugar plus a minced bulb of garlic. The dark soy is the key. We also ended up throwing some pig ears in there too.
S has this really clever technique when braising meats - that's to put sugar on the bottom of the pot and burn it until it's a deep brown color - that gives the deep rich color to the final product and probably lends a little bit of smoke to the taste. Unfortunately, i did it wrong and the sugar liquefied instead of burned - I guess I should have used a different pot - regardless, after it became syrup, it browned a little so I just kept going.
After that, you throw your pork and marinade into the pot and saute a little. No need for oil because of the thick layers of lard. Mmmm. After it's cooked a short while, dump in some water. S's style would be to fill it halfway and continue to refill as necessary. I am lazy so I just basically filled the pot. But my mom always braised stuff starting with a full pot so I wasn't concerned; although she would do it starting in the morning - not in an hour.
After the water has basically boiled down all the way, it will look like this. Notice we threw some hard boiled eggs (shells removed) in earlier, and see the whole pig ears on the bottom of the photo. At this point, you might as well taste the liquid in the pot and see if the flavor feels right or not. If it's too strong, then add some more water and cook it down a little more; if it's too weak, you'll need to add flavoring.
As I sliced up the ear, I listened to "Stuck in the Middle with You" by Steeler's Wheel.
This is screaming to be eaten with white rice. But given that it's basically eating straight lard, I opted for the slightly healthier brown rice.