Recipe courtesy of Traveler's Table

Pork Belly in Pasilla Sauce

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 1 day 9 hr 50 min (includes curing time)
  • Active: 1 hr 35 min
  • Yield: 1 portion


Pork Belly Rub:

Pork Belly:

Pasilla Sauce:

Pickled Carrots:

Sour Apple Slaw:

Pork Belly in Pasilla Sauce:

Smoked Paprika Oil:


Special equipment:
a 12-by-16-inch vacuum seal bag; a vacuum sealer; a thermal circulator; a mandoline; a deep-fry thermometer
  1. For the pork belly rub: Combine the brown sugar, salt, mustard and paprika in a bowl.
  2. For the pork belly: Trim the pork bellies and cut them into 6-inch squares. Score them horizontally and vertically on the fat side of the belly. (The score should be roughly 1/4-inch deep made with the tip of the knife.) Coat the bellies heavily with 1 cup rub and place inside a vacuum seal bag. Add the fat, garlic and thyme to the bag. Vacuum seal airtight and cure, refrigerated, overnight, or for up to 24 hours.
  3. Set a thermal circulator to 190 degrees F.
  4. Add the pork belly in the bag to the water bath. Cook 24 hours, then transfer to an ice bath and chill until the pork is under 40 degrees F. Remove the bellies from the bag, then pat dry with a towel and cut into roughly 6-ounce portions. Reserve for deep frying later.
  5. For the pasilla sauce: Preheat a grill to medium-high heat and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Place tomatoes and onions in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil. Place on grill and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  7. Place macadamia nuts in a baking pan and bake 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Saute garlic and chiles in a pot on medium heat until the flavors begin to meld, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, lime juice, cumin and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Puree in a blender until the sauce is very fine and smooth. Season to taste and finish the sauce with lime juice until the desired acidity has been reached. (Be careful when blending a sauce that is hot! It has a tendency to make a mess of your kitchen if you do not start off blending on slow. Also make sure blender is covered. Gradually work your speed up to full blast to get the velvet texture of the sauce, about 2 minutes total in the blender.)
  9. For the pickled carrots: Heat the vinegar, brown sugar and salt in a saucepot until it boils, 5 to 6 minutes. Pour the hot liquid over the carrots in a heatproof container and chill overnight.
  10. For the sour apple slaw: Julienne the cucumber on a mandoline into a bowl. Core the apples (leave the skin on) and julienne on the mandoline into the same bowl. Shave the cabbage paper-thin and add to the bowl. Add the salt, granulated sugar, pepper, lime juice, cilantro and 1 cup pickled carrots. Adjust salt, sugar and lime as needed.
  11. For the pork belly in pasilla sauce: Heat the oil in a 6- to 8-quart pot to 350 degrees F.
  12. Fry 6 ounces pork belly until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove to paper towels and dab with additional paper towels to remove any extra grease.
  13. Heat up 3 ounces pasilla sauce. Place sauce in a circle on a plate. Plate 2 tablespoons slaw in the center of the sauce, followed by the fried pork belly. Place 2 tablespoons slaw on top. Garnish with the micro greens on the very top of the slaw and drizzle Paprika Oil around the plate.

Smoked Paprika Oil:

Yield: 2 cups
  1. Steep paprika in oil in a small saucepan over low heat until it comes to a boil or 30 minutes. Allow to chill at room temperature for a few hours, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer.