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Maple Pork Belly, Buttermilk Grits, Soft Boiled Hen Eggs

Danny Grant - Balsan

Seasonal
Entree
Autumn

Serves 4

Ingredients
  • 6 farm fresh eggs (room temperature; cook a few extra in case of breakage)
  • 1 cup Three Sisters Garden grits
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup butter milk
  • 1.5 lb raw pork belly
  • ½ tsp. ground clove
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground all spice
  • 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup Burtons maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. chopped chives
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp. chopped thyme
  • 6 qts. chicken stock
  • ½ lb. butter (cubed)
  • Curly cress micro greens
Method

Pork Belly: Trim up the pork belly to a uniform thickness and set the scraps aside. Combine ground dry spices and chopped rosemary. Season pork belly generously with salt and pepper followed by half of the dried spice mix. Place seasoned pork belly in a shallow braising pan, cover with chicken stock, cover pan with a piece of foil and place in a pre-heated 300°F oven. Cook 3 to 4 hours until tender. Remove the belly from the liquid and cool. Strain the liquid and place in a pot. Reduce until you are left with 1 quart of liquid.

Creamy Grits: Bring 2 cups of whole milk to a low boil and gently whisk in grits. After the mixture begins to thicken, add buttermilk and continue cooking. Grits must be stirred frequently or it can burn and stick to the bottom of the pot. After about 2 hours of low cooking, the grits will be tender. Add a few cubes of butter and salt and pepper to taste. The step can be done a day in advance and reheated with milk.

Soft Boiled Eggs: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Gently place room temperature eggs in to boiling water with a spider or mesh strainer. Use a digital kitchen timer to keep track of the eggs- 5 minutes and 30 seconds yield the best result. Submerge soft boiled eggs into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Peel soft boiled eggs, store in room temperature water and set aside.

Finishing the dish: Reheat creamy grits in a small pot, cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Chop and mix fresh herbs, place in a shallow dish and set aside. Heat up a medium sized skillet with 2 tsp. of olive oil over a medium flame. Cut the chilled pork belly into 1 ½ inch squares, season with salt and remainder of dried spices. Sear on all sides until golden brown and crisp, then set aside. Deglaze the pan with sherry vinegar and some of the reserved cooking liquid. Add the maple syrup and reduce until it has a thick, glaze-like consistency. Reheat the soft boiled eggs by placing it in a small pot of gently boiling water and remove it with a slotted spoon. Roll the warm eggs in the fresh herb mixture. In the bottom of a bowl, place a couple spoonfuls of the creamy grits, place the herb covered eggs in the grits, place the pork belly back in the pan with the maple glaze and coat it generously. Place the glazed pork belly next to a soft boiled egg. Drizzle some extra glaze around the plate. Garnish with some curly cress micro greens and enjoy!

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