I told you that the Wooly Pigs were coming. Thanks to Heath Putnam at Wooly Pigs and Debragga Butchers, several lucky members of of Eating Paleo in NYC got to taste Mangalitsa pork. When I got to the Debragga loading dock I was surprised when they gave me a GINORMOUS box of pork belly from New Jersey's Mosefound Farms. I mean, I'm pretty short, but I think this was 70% of my height and 20% of my weight. I didn't realize we'd get so much, so I had brought along a pathetic little tote and had the idea that I would pick it up, get some tea at Chelsea market, and take the F to the Lower East Side. Nope. I hoisted it up and carried it over my head (thank God for Movnat!) and attempted to hail a taxi in the blistering NYC heat.
So we had plenty of meat...really really good meat. And while I do like to cook, I don't normally deal with 20 pounds of meat and I admittedly don't mind taking some cooking shortcuts if it's just for myself. But this we had to do right...luckily Lee, our host for the dinner, happened to know the chef at Antibes Bistro downstairs. He generously helped instruct us on the art of doing pork belly right, which involved blanching, drying, searing, and braising in red wine for a really really long time. Thank you Lee for babysitting that overnight and Chef David for making sure we didn't completely destroy everything and also for saving the reduction that we totally burned!
Cutting and scoring the belly
I can't say we followed his instructions perfectly, but it still turned out wonderfully! It was crispy and melted in your mouth with succulent flavor. We devoured it all within an hour. I think the method was very similar to the one used by Thomas Keller in Ad Hoc at Home.
Mmm, berries brought by a member!
The delicious finished product! Thank you Wooly Pigs and Debragga!
I admittedly still have some fat and skin which I plan on making some treats with. Maybe they will be served at our next meetup!