Local chef shares pork belly recipe

Chef Brain Pellatt holds his plated pork belly. Ashley Miller/Daily

WINCHESTER – After opening its doors in 2011, Bonnie Blue Southern Market and Bakery has become a  landmark in the city. Known for its Janis Joplin posters, Texas-style barbecue, and made-from-scratch cakes, visitors flock to the 1920s restored Esso station for local and fresh foods.

Confit, a French term used in cooking, describes a food that is prepared at a lower temperature to preserve its flavor by cooking it in it’s own fat. During his 30 years of cooking, chef Brian Pellatt has perfected his recipe for pork belly by using this technique.

“It takes a little bit of time to prepare but the end result is definitely worth it,” Pellatt said.

For those unfamiliar with pork belly, it’s the part of the pig that is uncured, unsmoked and unsliced bacon. Pork belly has an unparalleled rich texture and is high in flavor. Because of this, over the years, pork belly has become more popular among chefs. It has an almost melt-in-your-mouth kind of sensation.

Topped on a pile of mashed potatoes, this comfort southern-style dish is perfect for  cooler days that are fast approaching here in the valley.

Pork belly tops a pile of mash potatoes. Ashley Miller/Daily

Bonnie Blue Pork Belly

10-pound Skinned Pork Belly.

5 gallons salted water.

Immerse belly in cold,salted water on stove.

Bring up to gentle simmer; allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

Turn off pot; allow to cool until pork belly can be removed.

Place pork belly on lined sheet pan, top with plastic wrap and another sheet pan on top.

Weight down belly with 5-pound bag of sugar and place in refrigerator overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove weight and plastic wrap; scrape any excess fat off belly.

Portion 6-ounce pieces of pork belly and reserve.

In large sauté pan, melt 4 ounces butter.

Place four portions of belly, fat side down, in pan of melted butter and gently move them so as not to stick to the pan.

Once fat side has browned, turn over and place in oven for 25 minutes or until the portion yields to your touch.

Remove from oven and allow to rest.

Place on mashed potatoes and dig in.