ASIAN-SPICE PORK BELLY PANINI w/ DRIED BLUEBERRIES & ORANGE BRITTLE
We like LaBrea Ciabatta Rolls but your bread of choice is fine.
FOR THE PORK ;
1 each - fresh Pork Belly (10-12#) ( skin scored if you want cracklins )
3 T - Star Anise
3 T - Black Peppercorns
3T - Fennel Seeds
2 T - Cloves
2 T - Ground Cinnamon
3 T - Coriander Seeds
Grind all spices to a smooth powder in a spice grinder and then add 2 rounded tablespoons of dried red chili flakes to the mixture. Stir briefly to homogenize. Thoroughly coat the meat side of the belly ( ie. not the skin side ) with the spice mixture and refrigerate loosely covered overnite, meat side up. The next day, to a braising pan add the following vegetables and bay leaves.
3 ea. - Large, sweet yellow onions, peeled and quartered.
1# - Green garlic cut into 1" sections.
1/2 head - celery
5 each - fresh bay leaves
3 L - Apple Cider
Lay the belly on top of the vegetables skin-side up, and set the pan on the middle rack of your oven. Add enough apple cider to just come to where the skin meets the meat. Do not cover the skin. Set oven at 475*, and cook about 30 minutes, or until skin starts to bubble and crisp. Turn heat down to 300* and braise for 2 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and put belly on a rack or sheet pan to cool for an hour. Reserve the braising liquid and the vegetables. Peel off the skin and reserve for cracklins if desired. When cool refrigerate loosely covered overnight. The next morning separate the meat from the belly and chop or shred as desired.
FOR THE BBQ SAUCE ;
4 Cloves - Garlic, minced
3 each - Shallots, minced
2 Bottles - Miller Wine Works 2013 Zinfandel - reduced by 3/4.
2 C - brown sugar
1 C - dark molasses
1 C - ketchup
3/4 C - Rice Wine Vinegar
3/4 C - Apple Cider Vinegar
2 qts. - Braising liquid and vegetables ( reserve remaining )
Sweat garlic and shallots in a little olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer for about 30 minutes. Add onions and garlic from the braising liquid and puree all. Return to heat and simmer for another 30 minutes while adjusting seasoning and consistency. Add more vinegar or braising liquid as desired.
TO ASSEMBLE ;
1 # - Dried blueberries reconstituted in apple cider
2 bunches - scallions sliced small on the bias - add to pork mix
2 boxes - Simple & Crisp Dried Orange slices, pulsed in spice grinder to rough consistency ( ie. brittle )
Assemble paninis with a layer of braised pork belly. Sauce as desired w/ Asian BBQ sauce. Top with 2 T plumped dried blueberries, and 1 T orange brittle.
Heat and press on panini press.
Cut into four pieces for small plates.
Serve w/ Shake Ridge Vineyard Zinfandel !!