In the Belly of the Beast: Maple Pork Belly w. Corn Waffles

Pork Belly PromisesOh pork belly. After years of being on the upswing of trendy foods, it amazes me how many people still don’t know what pork belly is. In my job as a meat distributor, I work mainly with chefs who are well-versed in their cuts of meat. However we often get calls from “general public” people (our term for those unassociated with the industry) who want to buy pork belly because they need it for a recipe, but have no idea what it is and are often worried that it’s some bizarre unusual piece of meat.

I then get to explain to them that they’ve most likely been eating pork belly for years — in its cured and smoked form, bacon. Usually they are shocked, which I always find a little funny. But it makes me happy to know more and more people who are not chefs are getting to appreciate this delicious and decadent cut of pork.

My point here is that pork belly = glorious, happy goodness.

Which is why for Thanksgiving this year my husband and I said screw the turkey, let’s cook a pork belly. We actually did a whole “Momofuku” spread with steamed buns, pickled vegetables and roasted pork belly (don’t worry, a full post is in the works!). It was an amazing meal, but considering it was a monstrous 12-pound piece of pork, we still had lots of leftovers.

Which means I had an opportunity to make this dish for dinner last week:

Pork Belly Perfection!

Pork Belly Perfection: Corn and Cheddar Waffles with Maple-Glazed Pork Belly.

It was absolutely, positively as fantastic as it looks! I promise you. If you don’t believe me, you’ll just have to make it yourself.

Did I just hear you say “challenge accepted”?

Okay then, follow my lead:

Take your cooked pork belly. Ours had been rubbed in sugar and a bit of salt, roasted and then chilled so the slices came off nice and clean. Heat up a skillet with the tiniest drizzle of oil just to keep it from sticking initially (after it cooks for a bit, it will generate plenty of its own fat, trust me).

Roasted Pork Belly

Roasted Pork Belly

Crispy, Fatty Pork Belly

Crispy, Fatty Pork Belly

Once mine was browned on both sides, I drained off the fat and swirled in some maple syrup just to coat the pork.

Keep the belly warm and make your waffles. I took the easy way out because I was in a hurry to eat. I used my favorite cornbread recipe, mixed in some shredded sharp cheddar cheese, corn kernels and thinly sliced serrano chiles. Once I had everything ready, I dug around for some accoutrements. Taking a cue from my friend Martha, I pulled out some cilantro, scallions and sour cream. Then it was time to assemble things:

Corn, Cheddar and Serrano Chile Waffles

Corn, Cheddar and Serrano Chile Waffles

Maple-Glazed Pork Belly w. Corn Waffles

Add Maple-Glazed Pork Belly

A drizzle of maple syrup and butter

A drizzle of maple syrup and butter never hurt anyone

It just seems to be missing something...

It just seems to be missing something…

Oh, that's better -- a dollop of sour cream, green onions and cilantro

Oh, that’s better — a dollop of sour cream, green onions and cilantro

Get in my belly, belly!

Get in my belly, belly!

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20 thoughts on “In the Belly of the Beast: Maple Pork Belly w. Corn Waffles

      • Had lamb belly yesterday–tasty. One of my recent projects was editing recipes for a Minnesota Pork Council chef’s contest. Lots of pork belly in those. Interesting to see the recipes each year and how what the chefs do eventually goes more mainstream. I remember when pork belly was pushing the envelope. This year there were a few recipes using pig’s feet. Do you sell? Seems unappetizing, but so did belly a few years’ back!

        • Oh lamb belly = yum!! Lucky you! And yes, I do sell pig’s feet — lots of them. All the under appreciated cuts (ears, snouts, trotters, tails and offal) are definitely enjoying their time in the spotlight it seems. Nothing is hipper right now than the “nasty bits.” My favorite pig’s foot preparation was when my husband took one and stuffed with sweetbreads and morels. It was amazing!

  1. Good god this looks fantastic! I have always loved pork belly, even as a child. I found out recently that my favorite dish that I would demand my mom make for me on my birthdays was actually braised pork belly!! 🙂

      • I haven’t! I will certainly link you when I do though 🙂

        The problem is, my mom is not a recipe person in the slightest. She goes purely off of taste and memory so it’s hard to record her when she’s making food. I’ve tried it before and I just end up with delicious food but no idea how the hell it was made. Haha.

  2. This is really interesting! I’ve eaten lots of pork belly because it’s so common in my country, but I’ve never seen pork belly being prepared this way before. I’d love to try making this some day!! 🙂

    • This was super good — a very breakfast-for-dinner type of flavor though the corn waffles were decidedly savoy not sweet. But it worked much the same way bacon would. I feel like pork belly can be good just about anywhere on anything! =)

  3. Pingback: Pearl Sugar & the Liege Waffle: A story of sweet obsession | Attempts in Domesticity

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