Recipe courtesy of Extra Virgin

Braised Pork Jowls all'Amatriciana

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  • Total: 5 hr 5 min (plus curing time)
  • Active: 55 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Jowls:

2 pork jowls

2 fresh bay leaves 

2 large sprigs fresh oregano 

2 large sprigs fresh thyme 

2 ounces crushed black peppercorns 

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt 

1 teaspoon pink curing salt 

Amatriciana Sauce:

8 ounces Pancetta, recipe follows

1 red onion, sliced into 3/4-inch squares

16 ounces canned San Marzano tomatoes 

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 

1 clove garlic, crushed 

Kosher salt

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

1/4 cup grated pecorino

1 bunch fresh parsley, leaves rough chopped 

Pancetta:

120 grams kosher salt

50 grams sugar 

25 grams pink curing salt 

6 sprigs fresh rosemary 

6 sprigs fresh thyme 

1/2 cup crushed black peppercorns 

2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes 

1 tablespoon crushed coriander seeds 

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 

One 5- to 6-pound slab raw pork belly 

Directions

Special equipment:
a meat needle and string
  1. For the jowls: Combine jowls, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, peppercorns, kosher salt, pink salt and 3 quarts water in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook until the jowls are fork-tender throughout, about 2 hours 30 minutes. Set aside to cool in cooking liquid.
  2. Slice each jowl across the grain into about six 1/4-inch-thick slices.
  3. For the amatriciana sauce: Slice the Pancetta into 1/8-inch-thick slices, then cut the slices into 3/4-inch squares. Set aside.
  4. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed saucepot over medium-high heat and add onions and pancetta. Turn heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until well caramelized. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and garlic and stir to mix well. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm. Season to taste.
  5. Heat a large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Cook until smoking, then add 2 to 3 slices jowl to the pan. (Don't crowd them in the pan; give them room to breathe.) Caramelize both sides of the jowl slices until crisped, then remove them to a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Continue with remaining slices. Arrange the slices on a large platter and spoon a generous amount of amatriciana sauce on top. Sprinkle with pecorino and chopped parsley. 

Pancetta:

  1. Combine kosher salt, sugar and pink salt in a medium bowl and mix well. Roughly chop the rosemary and thyme leaves and mix them into the dry ingredients. Add the peppercorns, red pepper flakes, coriander seeds and garlic and mix well again. Set aside.
  2. Place the pork belly in a shallow plastic bin or on a cookie sheet and rub liberally with the cure; it should have a uniform coating on it, almost as if you'd dredged it. Put the pork belly in a 2-gallon resealable plastic bag and seal it. Refrigerate, flipping the bag every 2 days and working the cure into the meat, for 9 days.
  3. Remove the pork belly from the bag and rinse all the cure off. Use a meat needle to insert a string into one corner of the pancetta. Hang it in the refrigerator to dry for 1 to 2 weeks more. (The pancetta will be ready in 1 week, but an additional week of curing will intensify the flavor.)