How To Make Chef Miko Aspiras’ Brûléed Cognac Pork Belly with Five-Spice Gravy
Here’s a little taste of the finished product. While it looks elaborate and fancy, with diligence, patience, and the right tools at hand like Teka's trusty kitchen appliances, preparing this dish can be easily done.
Serving: five to six persons
Prepping time: approximately 27 hours
Cooking time: three hours
The day before your gathering (at most 24 hours before), prepare the brined pork belly.
What you need for the brine:
1 kilo pork belly
175 mL cognac
150 mL water
150 g brown sugar
15 g sea salt
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic
50 mL soy sauce
15 g paprika
What to do:
Smash the garlic, chop the onion into quarters, then place all ingredients in a shallow food pan and give it a quick stir.
Place the pork skin-side up, cover with cling film, and place inside the fridge to chill overnight.
Remove pork from brine and remove excess brine ingredients before cooking.
On the day of your gathering, finish cooking the pork belly dish.
What you need to cook the pork belly:
Brined pork belly
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to add flavour
1 onion bulb, peeled and sliced
4 dried bay leaves
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
6 g cardamom pods, smashed
4 star anise
6 g fennel seeds
Approximately 60 g extra virgin olive oil
125 g white wine
125 g cognac
500 mL chicken stock
What you need for the gravy:
6 g Five-spice
25 g honey
25 g mustard
Approximately 60 g caster sugar
What to do:
Preheat oven to 195C.
Using a sharp chef’s knife or paring knife score pork belly skin diagonally in a diamond pattern at ½ cm intervals. Season it generously with salt and pepper by rubbing it well into the skin.
Put the onion, bay leaves, garlic, cardamom, star anise, fennel seeds, and a little olive oil on a hot roasting tray on top of hob or stove, heat for 2-3 minutes until aromatic.
Push spices to the side of the tray, then add the pork skin-side down, sear for at least five minutes until golden brown. Turn the pork over, season with salt and pepper and some more fennel seeds.
Pour wine and cognac on the side, making sure you don’t get the pork skin wet. Deglaze the pan by scraping off the bits from the bottom. Boil the mixture then pour chicken stock until you reach the layer of fat just below the skin. Boil again.
Transfer the tray into the oven then cook for 2 hours.
After roasting, carefully transfer meat into a warm plate or tray and allow it to rest.
If this is how your pork belly looks like after two hours in the oven, then you’re doing great!
To make the gravy, heat the tray with all the cooking juices on a hob or stove, add the mustard and five-spice, then mix using a whisk. Adjust flavours and seasoning if necessary, but remove the star anise and the cardamom pods. Finish off with honey. Cook until mixture is reduced and thick. Then, pour the gravy into a sauceboat, serve with the roasted pork and roasted vegetables.
After cooking the gravy, put the finishing touches on the pork belly. Sprinkle sugar on top of the pork skin then brûlée using a torch.
What you need for the roasted vegetables:
1 small butternut squash, cubed
2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 sweet potato, cubed
4 marble potatoes, each sliced in half
1 red onion, sliced in half
4 carrots, all peeled
chopped herbs (thyme, dill, rosemary, can be one kind or combination)
125 mL extra virgin olive oil
45 mL balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
What to do:
Preheat oven to 245C.
In a large shallow bowl, stir together oil, vinegar, and chopped herbs.
Toss in the prepped vegetables, season with salt and pepper.
Spread everything evenly on a large roasting pan.
Roast for 30 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through and browned.
Finally, put everything together in a nice setup that will have your relatives snapping away on their phones.
You can also plate it this way so that everyone can have an easier time getting their piece of the brûléed cognac pork belly with five-spice gravy. But most importantly, enjoy the fruits of your labour this holiday!
In the Philippines, Teka is distributed by Kuysen Enterprises. (website here).
Recipe by Miko Aspiras, images by Kuysen Enterprises