Crispy pork belly with red wine lentils and salsa verde

If you have any leftovers, the pork and salsa verde are great in a sandwich.

Chef Faizal Kassam of Cibo Trattoria and UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar in Vancouver shares this recipe for pork belly with lentil and a salsa verde. Feel free to swap the lentils out for another grain depending on your preferences. The leftover pork belly and salsa verde are great in a sandwich.

Pork belly

1/2 cup kosher salt
1-1/2 tbsp pink curing salt
1 clove garlic
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1-1/4 tsp sugar
1 slab pork belly
2 L duck fat

Curing the pork belly: 

Place all the dry ingredients in a blender (everything except the belly and duck fat) and blend until a salt mixture is formed. 

Rub the salt mixture into the belly aggressively, making sure to get into every nook and cranny. 

Wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

When ready to cook, rinse the cure off the belly for 20 minutes under cold running tap water. Dry off. 


Cooking the pork belly: 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 

Melt duck fat in a pot over medium heat and place the pork in the liquid fat.  

Bring the pork up to a boil and wrap with aluminum foil. 

Place in the oven for 1 hour or until a knife can be inserted and removed easily. 

Carefully remove the hot pork belly from the fat (strain the fat and save for future use). 

Cool the pork in the refrigerator. 

Turn the oven up to 425 degrees F. 

Using a non-stick pan over medium heat, add canola oil and place the pork belly skin-side down. 

Place in the oven for 7 minutes, or until the skin side has crackled and crisped up. Flip and finish the belly for 2 more minutes. 

Remove and serve on top of lentils, finish with salsa verde

Umbrian red wine lentils

1 red onion, finely chopped
1 celery heart, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup Umbrian lentils
4 cups chicken stock, divided
2 cups full-bodied red wine

In a heavy-based saucepan, add a little bit of oil and heat on medium. Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic, a good pinch of salt. 

Turn down the heat and cook until soft, about 10-15 minutes. 

Add the lentils, and slowly add a little bit of stock and red wine, stirring continuously. 

Add more liquid, little by little, alternating between the stock and red wine, until the lentils are soft, but still have a bit of texture, about 20 minutes. 

Season to taste with salt, pepper and a splash of red wine vinegar. 

salsa verde

1 clove garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
4 fillets anchovies
2 tbsp capers
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, picked and washed
1/8 bunch fresh mint, picked and washed
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil
red wine vinegar, to taste

Chop the garlic with a little pinch of salt until it reaches a paste-like consistency. 

Chop the anchovies very finely and roughly chop the capers. Put the garlic, capers and anchovies into a mixing bowl. 

Roughly chop parsley and mint, and add to the mixing bowl. 

Add mustard and mix together. 

Slowly add the olive oil and season with the red wine vinegar, salt and black pepper to taste.

4 servings