Braised Pork Belly with Shallot-Ginger confit

Praise the Lard!

I am one of those who believe fatty foods deserve a little more respect. Can we be honest and stop disguising bacon into something that it’s not? If putting bacon bits in your salad makes you feel less guilty you’re lying to yourself – and i think you should try smoking cigarettes while jogging instead. So why not stop the treasure hunt for the precious bits and embrace pork fat in all it’s oozing glory for once? It’s what you’re after – and you know it.

Like every good things in life moderation is key and as long as you don’t eat to the point of reaching a lipo-coma or fat-overdose, you’ll be okay. If you’re still not convinced remember the French paradox, a glass of red wine everyday goes a long way and might very well act as the mystical fountain of youth. A healthy lifestyle is not about restriction, it’s about balance and knowing how to make yourself happy. And pork fat will, i guarantee.

Pork belly, for those who haven’t been following food trends, is what is cured and smoked for bacon. In the hands of someone who appreciates the versatility, value and full-fat flavor, the belly is a “secret weapon” able to project champagne taste on a beer budget – and braising is the technique of choice that will transform this seemingly rubbery slab of meat into pure unctuousness. Think of this recipe as an exquisite variation on sweet-and-sour pork. The honey-and-vinegar cubes of meat simply melt in your mouth.
I don’t consider myself a pork fat advocate yet but i can tell you there wasn’t an ounce of guilt in my plate. And the wine was good too.

Braised Pork-Belly w/ Shallot-Ginger confit

~adapted from Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges~

(serves 4)

Braised Pork Belly:

  • One 2-pound piece pork belly
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley stems
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns

Shallot-Ginger Confit:

  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • Salt


  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 300’F.
  2. To make the braised pork: Put all the braised pork ingredients in a Dutch oven or casserole. Add enough water to cover the pork and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Transfer to the oven and cook, uncovered, until the pork is tender, about 2 hours. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, make the shallot-ginger confit: Put the shallots, ginger, and honey in a medium saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook until it has evaporated. Add 1/2 cup water and turn the heat to low. Simmer the mixture until it is almost dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  4. Remove the pork from the Dutch oven and cut into 1-inch cubes. Put the honey in a large saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook until thickened and a deep amber color, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and stir well. Add the pork and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. If the mixture becomes too thick, add a tablespoon of water.
  5. Divide the shallot-ginger confit among the plates and top with the pork. Serve warm with steamed rice or crusty bread.
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  • Alejandra

    I actually do consider myself a pork fat advocate. Just a pork advocate in general. I’ve been known to throw parties and purposely not invite my non-pork eating friends just so as to not ruin my menu. Of course, I’ve also had non-pork parties especially for them too… I’m not a horrible person, after all. I want to try this dish so badly now! It looks incredible…

  • Sweetiepie

    This is my all time favourite.I can’t live without pork belly.Looks awesome!

  • Ryan Placchetti

    I’m a huge fan of fats of all kind. In fact, when it comes to the final bites of a meal starring meat, I go for a 1:1 meat to fat ratio.

    There’s so much flavor there, and gradually increasing the fat with each bite really puts off the diminishing satisfaction that tends to set in throughout a long meal.

  • Chicken & Waffles

    Pork belly is so hard to make without overcooking. Braising seems a very sensible approach. But polite banter aside, you had me at PORK, Zen-Man. I will do your laundry, scrub your toilets, finish the dishes, scrub the floors and do a trapeze act in the bedroom for pork, dude. I have no shame.

  • Cindy. Lo.

    You know,
    Some people cook fatty pork with coke or root beer,
    It’s like honey in a way,
    Which makes the pork sweet and tender!

  • Emiline

    I’m going to look for pork belly now, because I want to make this!
    I support pork fat, for sure.

    We serve hog jowl at the restaurant where I work, fried to perfection. Sometimes there are whiskers on it, and that freaks me out.

  • Tartelette

    Pork…any form any day…! I can’t keep up with you, this is just perfect!
    The first paragraph was precious!
    Where did you learn your French, btw?

  • Manggy

    Yeah, I do not get why people don’t know what to do with/how to eat pork belly… Then again, I am Asian and it’s pretty much a no-brainer for me: pork belly=fatty goodness, haha! :) Although I do cut huge chunks of fat out… It’s not really my style. I like the fat thin and distributed throughout the muscle. My favorite way to cook it is my grandmothers: braise in brine, then deep fry until golden and crispy, serve with banana ketchup :)

    I am a little intrigued by the first cooking method. Why didn’t you choose to braise the meat on stovetop (or slow cooker)? The combination of flavors you chose are great!

  • Ann

    I do try to use words and act like an adult most of the time, but…


    Your photo is amazing. This one goes on the “Gotta Try That!” list of upcoming posts.

  • SteamyKitchen

    I have this book too – but haven’t tried pork belly recipe yet.

    Praise the Lard !! haha!

  • cakewardrobe

    I always say this – “DIET” is against my religion. Fat, however, bring it on!! The more the merrier.

  • Heather

    I couldn’t agree with you more about the magical beast that is the pig. I used pork belly in my cassoulet last weekend (and made sauce out of the pureed cooked skin). Yummeh!

  • Cakespy

    Damn, this looks like a SERIOUS dish. Not one bit of guilt though??? That’s part of the pleasure I think.

  • Dhanggit

    beautiful title.. i could see this well on the menu card of three starred michelin restaurants..braised pork belly with shallot ginger how can we go wrong with that!!

    btw, i love the way you write your article..are you journalist?

  • Katy

    i have fresh shallots and honey from the farmer’s market this weekend! guess what i am making… :-)

  • waliz

    hi zen…never it pork belly all my life so i dont know wht to comment..but i guess say hello is no harm…HELLOOOOOOOO ZEEENNNNNN!!!

  • La Belette Rouge

    I do not enjoy Emeril Legasse, but I totally agree with him on his love of pork fat. Nothing is better than pork fat….except, foie gras, lamb, chocolate…
    And, ginger! Yum!! Ginger and pork fat. You want us to drool on the keyboard don’t you?

  • dailydelicious

    Oh my!
    This dish look so gorgeous.

  • Rasa Malaysia

    I need some lard please…for stir-frying a plate of very good Malaysian fried flat noodles…;)

  • foodhuntress79

    I go for the first line : “Praise the Lard!” That sums up everything :)

    Sure, I love “powk” :)

    P.S. Is this your first posted pork recipe? Glorious

  • Zen Chef

    Alejandra… i love the idea of pork/non-pork parties! Let me guess which are the most fun. haha

    Sweetiepie. Me neither! :-)

    Ryan. I love the 1:1 ratio. haha. I have to remember that one!

    C&W.hahahahahaha..trapeze act in the bedroom for pork hahhahahaha

    Cindy. Waou. I would love to try that!

  • Zen Chef

    Emiline! go for it! :-)

    Tartelette! Je suis Francais!! :-)

    Manggy! I want some banana ketchup!! Sounds fascinating!

    Ann. Yes, the WTF! comes after the first bite! :-)

    Jaden, i knew you would like the ‘Praise the lard!’. That’s your style, isn’t it? :-)

  • Zen Chef

    Cakewardrobe, i like the way you thinking! :-)

    Heather! Pork fat sauce? YES!

    Cakespy, maybe a tiny bit of guilt! haha

    Dhanggit, no me no journalist. Me Zen. Zenchef! Thank you! :-)

    Katy. Ummm let me guess!

  • Zen Chef

    HELLLOOO WALIZZZZZ! Thanks for stopping by anyway!!! :-)

    La belette rouge. Yup, my role is to make you drool!

    Thank you Dailydelicious!

    Rasa Malaysia! Now you talking! hehe

    Yes, Foodhuntress ‘Powk’ is my friend! I once thought about adopting one. hehehe
    Yup i think this is my first pork recipe on here!

  • Big Boys Oven

    Lovely gorgeous pork belly, looks like it will melt when you give it just a bite!

  • [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    Lovely piece of pork you got there. We’re big fans of pork belly: in fact, given that pork is so lean nowadays, pork belly is the one cut that is very forgiving to cook.

    We’ve done pork belly adobo, roast pork belly. . .This one will be on the must-try list.