Sausage Fest 2013. It's a thing. And what better entry to a Sausage-themed recipe contest than pig + pig wrapped in pig?
All or nothing baby.
Here's how to make a pretty easy (just takes time), flavour-packed dinner, that could probably sway even the most hardcore of your vegetarian friends to the pork side.
STEP ONE - Go to Getaway Farms' Butcher Shop. Buy a 2 pound pork belly with the skin on. Ask Ben, or one of the other awesome staff, to score the skin for you. Also, buy 2 Argentinian Chorizo Sausages, 1 pound of bacon and ask Chris for a sample of their wicked new Meat Rub.
Meat Rub - Paprika, Black Pepper, Salt, Garlic, Onion, Coriander, Fennel, Chili, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice
STEP TWO - Make your filling. Sautée a small onion until just translucent and put it in a large bowl. Toast 1/4 C pinenuts in a dry pan until golden and add them to the onion. Remove the casing from the 2 sausages and add the meat to the onion/pinenuts along with - 15 cracks of black pepper, 1 clove chopped garlic, 1/4 C Panko and the chopped leaves from 1 sprig of rosemary. Mix everything with clean hands.
STEP THREE - Lay out your pork belly, skin side down. Make incisions all over the top (meat side), about 1 inch apart, with a paring knife. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of Meat Rub over belly meat and massage in with your fingertips making sure to really stuff the rub into the incisions.
Stuff the rub.
It just sounds dirty doesn't it?
STEP FOUR - Cut 4-5 slices of bacon in half lengthwise and lay them on the belly meat width-wise. Drizzle the bacon with 1 Tbsp of honey. Place sausage mixture on top.
STEP FIVE - Wake up your husband and make him get out of bed to help you tie the pork belly with twine. Place the tied belly, skin side up, on a baking sheet in the fridge for two hours, uncovered, to let the skin dry out a bit - this makes it nice and crunchy later on. After the two hours is up, preheat your oven to 500°, brush the skin with a little olive oil, rub 1 Tbsp of Meat Rub all over and sprinkle the whole thing lightly with kosher salt.
STEP SIX - Place the belly on a rack in a baking dish, skin side up, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, rotate it and let it roast 20 minutes more (tent it with tinfoil after the first 20 minutes if things are getting a little too crispy) - 40 minutes total at 500°.
STEP SEVEN - Lower the oven temp to 300°, pour 1/2C white wine over the pork and put it back in the oven for 1.5 hours or, until internal temp is 145°. Baste it with wine/drippings every half hour while it's in the oven. When it's done, take it out and let it rest for 30-40 minutes. Slice it up and eat that cracklin'.
For more information about Sausage Fest 2013 (August 12-18), check out the Local Connections Halifax website.
(pork belly cooking temperature and times adapted from Bon Appetit)