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Red Miso Pork Belly Sous Vide

Written By Culinary Pen on Thursday, April 23, 2015 | 8:50:00 AM

Cooking a big hunk of pork belly slow and low was one of the dishes I was most excited to create one I got my immersion circulator.  By cooking the pork belly for 12-24 hours at 145 F, the meat and fat become incredibly tender and succulent.  Since the temperature is kept low, the pork belly doesn't render out too much fat, keeping the meat moist and rich.
The dish itself is very simple so I wanted to use a high quality hunk of pork belly.  North Woods Ranch's Berkshire pigs produced these lovely red, white and pink striped beauties.  To season the meat, I rubbed them in red miso from South River Miso, then vacuum-sealed the bellies.  Total cooking time for these 2"x2" sections was 18 hours.  Afterwards, I drained off the miso and cooking juices from the bags into a sauce pan to reduce, then seared the pork belly in a hot skillet.

For serving I went with a riff on a Morimoto dish I had a few years ago: braised pork belly over porridge-like rice congee.  The creamy, bland rice is the perfect foil for the intense flavor of the pork belly, sauteed oyster mushrooms, and the reduced cooking juices of the pork.  Plus the slightly-sticky rice makes sure you can scoop up every drop of the intensely flavored juices.

Unlike my experiment with the chicken roulade, this dish really showed off the potential of using a sous vide and immersion circulator.  The pork's meat and fat were fork tender, and the juices that did come out during cooking in the water bath were intensely flavored; there was no evaporation to lose flavor and no broth or braising water to dilute the intensity.

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