To make pickling liquid: Put the brown sugar, bay leaves, salt, peppercorns, cloves, water and cider vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Put the pork belly into a pot of cold salted water and bring to a boil, skim the top of the water to remove the impurities, then reduce to a simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Strain the pork from the water and rinse.
Put the pork belly pieces into the pickling liquid and simmer for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, until tender.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove the pork belly from the pickling liquid and pat dry. In a large cast iron pan over medium heat, sear the pork belly, season with salt, and pepper, then put in oven. Continue to check on the pork belly constantly turning the pieces over to ensure all sides are crispy, remove from the oven.
Strain 2 cups of pickling liquid in a small pan and reduce by 2/3, until the liquid achieves a thick syrup consistency. Put the reduced pickling liquid, now a glaze, in a bowl and coat the crispy pork belly.
Spoon the Aromatic Lentils and Sauteed Mushrooms, recipe follows in the center of the serving plate, then scatter the crispy glazed pork belly around the aromatic lentils and serve immediately. Serve with Baked Eggs, if desired, recipe follows.
Put the oil and butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the crimini mushrooms, garlic, and thyme, saute until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper, toss and remove from heat. Reserve the mushrooms to add to the cooked lentils.
Put the lentils, shallots, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and water in a pot, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer, cook until lentils are tender.
Remove the bay leaves, garlic, and shallots, and set aside. Strain the lentils and put in a large bowl. Puree the garlic and shallots, and add back to the lentils and season with salt, and pepper. Add the sauteed mushrooms and diced tomatoes to the lentils. Toss and garnish with chives.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Divide the vegetable oil and shallots evenly among 4 oven-proof wide-mouthed ramekins. Gently crack 2 eggs per ramekin. Divide the tomato, butter, and cream evenly among the ramekins. Season with salt, and pepper, and put in the oven for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, until eggs whites have set.
Carefully, remove the ramekins from the oven and garnish with fresh sliced chives and serve immediately with toast.
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