This was a bit of an odd one for me. When my sister in law Renee G put the idea of pork belly nachos to me I was reluctant to say the least. Who has ever heard of such a dish? Only the manic, unleashed creativity of a child’s mind given the freedom of choice over their dinner destiny could concoct such a brutal combination.
I mulled over this concept for an unnaturally long time. It was the first time since we embarked on this project that I had felt a bit stumped. Usually given the topics we have covered so far I could break the recipe down into its purest form, rearrange it to suit my needs and even mentally design the plating in my head. Most of the time I’d even have a half constructed story of nostalgic merit to go with my recipe waiting in the wings. Not this time…….
I tried to pull apart what nachos meant to me personally, how I felt about pork belly rudely intruding on this classically beef oriented dish; even trying to draw from personal experience of flatting during my less financially stable years, but I kept coming up empty. My focus was so heavily aimed at the beef and beans components of this dish that I had trouble seeing past this. So I let go of all the analytical, soul searching shit and just had faith that this would work out, if I simply treated each bit of the recipe with respect and attempted to just put up a big, solid, dirty version of a dish I had come to rely on as a sure bet, with a piggy twist. Thanks to Renee G’s eldest, and the insane minds of children everywhere, I give to you possibly the most decadent version of Nachos that have ever past these skeptical lips. Pork belly Nachos complete with pork crackling chips. Boom! Get this in your noise hole ASAP!
- 3 cloves
- 3 all spice berries
- 1 star anise
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 800g pork belly bones in
Cooking pork belly always throws up a few technical issues. Undoubtably one of the finest things in life is a superior piece of pork crackle, but how to achieve this without drying out the tender, fatty meat that lies beneath the skin. Fortunately for you after many failed attempts to crack the code, with this recipe I managed to combine 3 different techniques from utterly unexpected and unconnected sources to produce a chunk of swine that satisfies both my need for crispy skin and soft, unctuous flesh (you lucky bastards!). We start with making our spice rub. This is good old fashioned Texas BBQ technique right here folks. As Nachos is very much a result of mexican influence on Texan foods (or vice versa) I felt it appropriate.
Preheat your oven to 200ºc. Toast all of your spices in a dry fry pan for 2-3 minutes, or until the are aromatic. Grind all the spices to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle. Now combine with the salt and sugar. Next we score the top of the pork skin making shallow cuts in the skin and a triangular pattern (similar to the shape of your nacho chips). Heat a large fry pan to a medium high heat with a generous glug of oil. Remove the bones from the belly and retain for use in the beans recipe. Season the pork skin well with salt then place the pork into the pan skin side down, and place a weight on top so that the skin makes good contact with the surface of the pan through out the cooking process. Check the skin periodically and adjust the heat accordingly. You should attain a nice golden brown colouring, evenly across the entire skin. If some parts are cooking slower than the others, apply more weight to that specific area. Make sure the skin does not brown too fast, it should take 10-15 minutes in the pan before you have your result. Be very careful not to burn the skin because it will taste like shit!
Once your pig is golden brown and very crispy remove from the pan and apply half of spice rub to the meaty underside of the belly. Place a wire rack into a baking dish and sit the pork belly, skin side up onto the rack. Place in to oven for 1 ½ hours, after which time you will add hot water to the bottom of the baking tray and cook for a further 1 hour. The water provides a moist environmet for the final stages of the cooking.
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ a red capsicum
- 6g fresh oregano
- reserved pork bones from the belly
- 400g tinned kidney beans
- 250ml beef stock
- 1 long red chilli
- ½ a scotch bonnet
- 2 Tbsp of sugar cane vinegar (or malt vinegar)
- 15g dark chocolate grated (70% cocoa or higher)
- 5 cherry tomatoes
Brown off the pork bones in the bottom of a large pot. Remove the bones but retain the oil and fry your onion and capsicum until they are soft. Add the garlic, scotch bonnet and the chilli and cook out for 2 minutes and add the remaining spice rub from the pork belly. Open the tin of kidney beans and tip about 2 Tbsp of the liquid into the pot. Wash the rest of the liquid off the beans in a sieve under a cold tap and stir into the pot. Add the beef stock to the pot (once again for ease and convenience, I just used powdered beef stock here) as well as the pork bones, vinegar, and oregano. Bring to the boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook slowly for 30mins and then add the chocolate and cherry tomatoes and stir into the mix. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. Season with salt and a touch of sugar.
- ½ an avocado
- 1 shallot finely diced
- 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
- 2 sprigs of coriander finely chopped
- 1 long red chilli finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- juice from ½ a lime
Remove the skin from the avocado and cut it into 5mm chunks. Combine all the other ingredients and mix carefully so you don’t end up with too much of a puree on your hands. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Remove the pork from the oven and remove the skin. Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes before carving. I used Doritos supreme cheese corn chips for this as they are tastier than the ones I could make and WAAAAAAY less hassle! Place a small handful of chips in the centre of your plate and heat in the oven for 1 minute. Spoon a couple of healthy spoonfuls of the beans down the centre of your chip pile. Using a sharp knife, slice the pork belly across the meat fibres into 1cm thick slices. Following your triangular score marks, cut the crispy skin into wedges Season each slice with a little salt and arrange in a row on top of your beans. Spoon a little more beans over the pork and using a potato peeler, add thin shavings of your favourite tasty cheese to the pile. Put your sour cream into a piping bag and squeeze irregular little dots of creamy awesomeness at various points all over the plate. Finally scoop a large dollop of the avocado salsa onto the plate and garnish with coriander and a lime wedge. As this dish is so rich, the lime will help to cut through the fattiness. Place your little crackling chips on top and get this dirty feed in your face pronto! Enjoy.