Braised pork belly is one of the tastiest and cheapest part of the pig you can serve and if you do it right it will be simply amazing. It´s quite easy to get the belly tasting good, all it needs is loads of time. The ways of seasoning the belly is numerous but I chose to make it a bit asian with japanese soy this time because I like how it matches the crisp raw salad of the cucumber both in flavor and texture.
Since braising pork belly isn´t to much work once you got it in the oven or pot you can make a big batch and save some for dinner, tacos or some nice sandwiches. The extra effort in time is almost nothing but the reward to have some pre-braised belly waiting in the frigde.
Braised pork belly with soy & cucumber & fennel salad
Cut of the skin of the belly if it´s still left on, the season to belly with salt and pepper and then sear it on all sides until golden. Remove from the pan and transer into a pot and add the japanese soy, beef stock, fish sauce, dried chili and honey and then cover with water. Leave to simmer under a lid until tender, this takes about 4-6 hours, however it´s almost impossible to let i cook for too long so up to ten hours is not a problem. Once done remove the meat and reduce the liquid until it´s a thick sauce.
Cut the cucumber and fennel in thin stripes and combine with sesame seeds, olive oil, lime juice and a few drops of sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Slice the pork belly and plate it, drizzle with some of the cooking sauce, serve the salad on the side.