The Beverly Hillbillies was one of my favorite after – school television shows. A short stack of Oreos, maybe a can of Tab, and my favorite place on the carpet in my grand-parents game room...every day at 4pm I would tune in to visit the Clampetts. Jed would be whittling, Ellie May would be clobbering Jethro, and Granny would be cookin’ up a mess of sow belly, much to Miss Hathaway’s chagrin.
If only Miss Hathway had tried some...
Pork belly (Granny called it sow belly) is popping up on menus across the country, and for good reason. Yeah, as a nation, we have all geeked out on bacon, but pork belly is like bacon’s more serious brother. Heavier, meatier, porkier –it’s like a little bacon steak. When you want to amp up your bacon experience, dial pork belly for the hook up.
If I remember correctly, Granny was always boiling sow belly, but to truly enjoy the lusciousness of a good belly, you need to track down one that has been cured, then pan fry it. Check your local high end meat market, and see if they have cured pork belly available. If not, buy an uncooked pork belly, and cure it yourself.
Is curing your own pork belly a hassle? A bit, but so very much worth it. I will post a recipe for curing soon, as my husband is working on the perfect cured pork belly as of this writing. It’s been a real chore to be his taste-tester (not.)
I don’t think Granny would have served up sow belly over a bed of crisp greens, with pears and walnuts. But this is not a hillbilly style dish. Hmm, maybe even Miss Hathaway would have approved of this version.
Autumn Chopped Salad with Pork Belly and Pears Recipe
- 4 oz cured pork belly or thick sliced bacon
- 2 oz blue cheese, cut into ½” cubes
- 6 green onions, minced
- 1 avocado, cut into chunks
- 2 oz walnuts, chopped roughly
- 1 pear, cored and chopped into ½” pieces
- 6-8 leaves of Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1/8 tsp sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Heat a 9” skillet on the stove. Cook the pork belly or bacon until it is crispy. Remove from the pan, and drain on paper towels. Cut into ½” pieces. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the blue cheese, green onions, avocado, walnuts and pears. Toss to combine well, then add the lettuce, and toss again. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad right before serving, and toss again briefly.