Pork Belly confit with tangerine-sesame emulsion, grits & chinese chives

There’s a Chinese supermarket conveniently located next to my gym where I’m known to buy pork belly right after spending an hour on the treadmill. Even the butcher gives me an amused look when I ordered a pound of center cut while still in my sweaty work-out clothes. Sometimes the best intentions in the world aren’t enough when the thought of a fork-tender piece of slow cooked belly hits you and it doesn’t help that it’s glazed with a tangerine-sesame emulsion with some rice wine vinegar to cut through the richness which makes this dish reminiscent of canard a l’orange with an Asian twist [gasp]. Needless to say, I’m heading back to the gym tomorrow.

I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a soft pork belly than with some creamy grits. I had this combination at Savoy in New York a few month ago and it made perfect sense. Those two understand each other like Brad and Angelina. You will achieve better results if you cure the piece of pork belly first (using the tangerine zest in the cure), cook it very slowly in lard, let it rest overnight and crisp the skin side before glazing it with the tangerine-sesame emulsion. You could skip some steps but as always good cooking can’t be rushed. That’s plenty of time you could spend on the treadmill as a preemptive action against porky goodness. And we all know how much we love that porky goodness around here.


  • Pork Belly confit with tangerine-sesame emulsion, grits & chinese chives

  • Serves 6
    • For the dry cure & confit:
    • 4 lbs pork belly
    • 1/3 cup Kosher salt
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • Grated zest from 8 tangerines
    • 1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
    • 6 cups lard
    • For the tangerine-sesame emulsion:
    • Juice from 8 tangerines, strained
    • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • To finish:
    • 4 cups milk
    • 1/2 cup grits
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • chinese chives
    • shimeji mushrooms
    • For the dry cure:
    • Combine the kosher salt and sugar in a small bowl and add the grated zest and chopped rosemary. Rub with your fingers until the zest and rosemary is fully incorporated and the mixture is fragrant.
    • If the pork belly still have the skin on, remove it carefully with a sharp knife. Rub the salt/sugar mixture all over the pork belly. Discard the excess. Place on a clean baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (no more than 12 hours).
    • Preheat oven to 200’F.  Put the pork belly in a dutch oven and cover with the lard; the lard should cover the pork by 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Heat the pot over low heat until it registers about 225’F. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook until the pork is meltingly tender; this will probably take 5 to 6 hours, but start checking after 4 hours. Remove the pot from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
    • When cool, pour enough fat into a deep dish to just cover the belly. Cover with plastic wrap, top with a smaller baking dish and weight it down with a large can. Refrigerate overnight.
    • When ready to serve, remove the belly from the fat and portion it into large cubes. Seared the belly in a large skillet, fat side down, on low heat for 15 minutes. Finish in the oven for another 15 min brushing the tangerine-sesame emulsion over it, and basting it until nicely glazed.
    • For the tangerine-sesame emulsion:
    • In a small saucepan, reduce the tangerine juice to a syrupy consistency. Whisk in the rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper. Use to glaze the pork belly and as a sauce.
    • To finish:
    • Cook the grits in the milk until creamy, about 15 minutes. Finish with butter, salt and pepper.
    • Sautee the chinese chives and shimeji mushrooms until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
    • Place some of the creamy grits in the center of 6 plates, top with a piece of glazed pork belly. Garnish with sautee chives and shimeji mushrooms and use the leftover tangerine-sesame emulsion as a sauce.
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  • Haumea

    I love the idea with the grits, Some pea sprouts would be excellent with that as well. I’m not a grits person but I will enjoy them on occasion. As always looks wonderful Zen!

  • http://twitter.com/UnrivaledKitch Kimberly Fujitaki

    this looks so fantastic. The tangerine and pork is a very familiar flavor profile i work with and the combination of creamy grits sounds delicious. Really well done and beautiful.

  • http://myinnerchick.com Kim Sisto Robinson

    This looks unbelievably fabuloius. And the grits just do me in. WOW~


  • http://twitter.com/RecipeTaster Alessio Fangano

    Nice glaze. Still haven’t tried doing a confit but the time is getting closer and pork belly sounds perfect!
    BTW do you get the necessary lard at the gym too? ;p

  • http://www.forkspoonnknife.com Asha

    Oh dear god!!! I just had pork belly at momofuku.. i thought I had had enough to last me a while but I want this.. all of it!! simply awesome..

    And, great to see back to regular posting schedule :))

  • Anonymous

    That is hilarious about you buying pork belly right after working out at the gym. It’s as bad as me going to my gym, then stopping off at Kara’s Cupcakes, which is right next door! Such temptation in such close proximity. 😉

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Look at that lovely gloss on the top! And grits-how interesting! :)

  • http://www.chaseeats.com David

    Pork Belly and Tangerine , epic combo. Love it!!

  • http://www.largepot.net Large Pot

    I’ll post the same information to my blog, thanks for ideas and great article.

  • Nina

    Zen, this is my style of eating and cooking. Your still still a genius!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1405246165 Frank A Fariello Jr

    This looks truly amazing! And since I have long ago resigned myself to a spreading waistline, I’ll have no compunction at all about enjoying this…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peter-Minaki/560410552 Peter Minaki

    Encore Stephane…never met a pork belly i didn’t like! Have fun at Le Bernardin.

  • http://www.pigpigscorner.com/ pigpigscorner

    The gym then pork belly in lard..I like that.

  • http://www.ouichefnetwork.com Oui, Chef

    I still have yet to braise a pork belly….what the #@$% is wrong with me? This is gorgeous pig, my friend. – S

  • Anonymous

    Yup, that’s where i collect it. :)

  • Anonymous

    it’s #epic.. so i guess i’m #winning. Must be the #tigerblood :)

  • http://baconandrhubarb.blogspot.com Rachel (S[d]OC)

    Isn’t it a bit redundant to say “porky goodness”? 😀 I think I could easily eat each component of this dish by itself and still die happy. Put it all together and I may just live forever.

  • http://breadetbutter.wordpress.com/ Su-yin

    Oh my. Pork belly cooked IN lard? Yes, please. I wouldn’t be able to eat this during the winter months though, as I don’t gym when it’s cold 😛

  • http://frombatoparis.blogspot.com Frombuenosairestoparis

    Great recipe for a great blog! I find your work inspiring AND I learn a lot!
    Really thankful,

  • Colloquial Cook

    C’est le retour du gras de cochon qui lévite au dessus l’assiette. Mon mauvais esprit me fait subodorer que sa légèreté n’est que photographique. Encore que, c’est servi avec des champignons. C’est presque un plat de régime.

  • http://www.mattikaarts.com/blog Matt

    I swear I wish I could eat your food everyday. LOVE the glaze you did here. Perfect combinations. Fantastic.

  • Anonymous

    “Subodorer”.. arrete d’utiliser des mots que je ne comprends pas ! :)

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Thanks Cristina, and welcome!

  • fatPIG

    what did you do with the skin?!!!??

  • Anonymous


  • windy_g

    on the photo it looks like the skin is still on??