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Pork Fat

The fat of the land


Norman & Janet Van Aken, © 2012

We wanted to give you a recipe that utilizes some of the best pork fat on a pig; pork belly. So …belly up!

Yield: 4 servings

2 pounds fresh pork belly, skinned and trimmed of all except ¾” layer of fat

1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground

1 Tablespoon fennel seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground

½ teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and coarsely ground

Kosher salt, to taste

Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste

1 Tablespoon canola oil

½ Cup onion, diced

½ Cup celery, diced

½ Cup carrot, peeled and diced

8 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 Cup white wine

3 Cups Basic Chicken Stock, hot

1 sprig fresh thyme

Score pork fat; cover pork belly with seeds; cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight. Heat oven to 325F.

Scrape seeds off fat side of pork belly; season. Heat oil in large non-reactive saucepan set over medium; add pork belly fat side down; sauté until fat is golden brown; transfer pork belly to roasting pan.

Pour off excess fat from saucepan; add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic; cook until softened; season; add wine; reduce by 90 percent; add stock and thyme; season.

Pour liquid over pork belly; cook uncovered in oven until very tender (about 2 ½ to 3 hours); remove from oven; cool pork belly in braising liquid.

Remove pork belly; cut into 4 pieces; cover with plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator.

Strain braising liquid through fine chinois; chill until fat congeals; remove fat; discard; reserve braising liquid in refrigerator.


Norman Van Aken has been described as legendary, visionary and a trailblazer. He is known as “the founding father of New World Cuisine,” a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors. He is also known internationally for introducing the concept of “Fusion” to the culinary world.