I was much too busy with Red Clay to help Micah cook dinner Monday night, so he whipped up an amazing (and very fancy) meal for us all on his own. I snapped some photos and told him his delicious supper would go up on the blog if he would write up a post about it. So he did, and here it is!
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Hi. I’m Tanya’s main squeeze Micah and her very first official guest blogger.
I’m also the resident cook/curer of all things carnivorous in our household and a dabbler in what Tanya has coined “boozy infusions.” These are simply booze that has been infused with something (preferably non-toxic) that you think it should taste more like. But I’ll go into further detail about those adventures in a future guest post.
The reason I’m writing is to tell you about this here dinner:
I’ve recently begun to discover my roots. In other words, I’ve become enamored with Southern cooking.
I’ve long had a taste for the tasty. But whenever I’d think about the great food cultures of the world, I’d think about French, Italian, authentic Mexican, Japanese, etc. Never did Southern cross my mind. Only recently have I discovered what has been right in front of my face (and in my mouth) my whole life.
This has a lot to do with the rise of our local celebrity chef, Hugh Acheson. I know Tanya has mentioned him before. He’s the man who has put Athens, Georgia on the culinary map. His specialty is Southern cuisine with a modern twist.
After we visited his restaurants and read his cookbook, A New Turn in the South, a lightbulb went off in my head. The South does have one of the finest food cultures in the world. In bridging the traditional cuisines of three continents (North America, Africa, and Europe), we Southerners have created something greater than the sum of its parts.
Sure, it’s been hijacked and bastardized by the Paula Deens of the world, but trailblazers like Hugh are taking it back. This makes for an exciting time to be a foodie in the South, and it has made me want to incorporate a little Southern charm into almost everything I cook.
Including the meal I’m telling you about here, which fancifies butter beans and quick pickles with a little bit of pork belly. Voila!
Wait, that’s French. Let’s try again.
Here it is, y’all: my Pork (Belly) ‘n’ Beans.
First, there are two things you’ll want to make ahead: pork belly confit (I followed these directions from Belly Love) and pickled beets (made following thismodernwife’s recipe). These’ll keep in the fridge for a while, so make them when you have time and keep ‘em around for this meal.
(As you can probably tell from the preceding recipes, and Tanya can confirm, I prefer to read things with lots of pictures.)
- For the butter bean puree (you’ll have extra left over):
- 2 cups dried butter beans or baby limas
- 6 cups stock or broth
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- Everything else:
- two 2- to 3-ounce pieces of pork belly confit
- 2-4 tablespoons pickled beets, sliced into thin strips
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
What to do:
- Put beans, stock, onion, and garlic into a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or big pot. Cook until tender (about 30 minutes in a pressure cooker or several hours on the stove/in a slow cooker).
- Puree with a stick blender or in batches in the regular blender until smooth.
- Add cream, lemon juice, and paprika, plus salt and pepper to taste.
- Strain with cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer. (Bonus: The solids that are leftover make good bean dip.)
- Add the liquid back into a saucepan and cook on medium low heat to reduce it until it’s good and thick.
- The last step is to crisp up the pork belly. Add the pieces to a skillet over medium heat and cook each side until brown.
- To serve, ladle about ½ cup of butter bean puree onto each plate, add the pork belly, top with slivers of pickled beets, and garnish with parsley.
- Eat up!
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Tanya here again. I just want to reiterate how good this was! Micah and I usually work together in the kitchen, but this recipe was entirely his creation and entirely, mouthwateringly, perfectly delicious.
The best part? We had enough of all the fixins that, after having this meal Monday night with a tomato cucumber salad, there was still plenty for us to enjoy it again yesterday, this time with the last of my peach tomato gazpacho.
Gluten-free friends, these are made from egg, powdered sugar, and unsweetened cocoa, so you can enjoy them, too!