Pork Belly with Mushroom Ragout

I prepared this last week and loved it. Only a few minor ingredients came from the garden, but I want to share the recipe. Mushrooms are meaty and earthy on their own, when combined with a succulent and savory meat they take on an entirely new dimension, and when you top it with a poached egg, it goes to 11.

Start by preparing a pork belly, which you can do ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until you are ready for the final assembly. Another aspect of this recipe is that it is not sensitive to timing, you can prepare the mushrooms ahead of time as well as the pork belly, and have everything ready in the oven until you are ready to plate.

If you don’t want to go through the effort of preparing a pork belly, just substitute bacon. Ask your butcher for the thickest cuts of bacon they have, cut into chunks and prepare ahead of time.

Servings: 4
12 oz. Chanterelle mushrooms, sliced medium
1 shallot
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tbs. butter
2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped fine
olive oil
dry white wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the shallot, saute for 3-4 minutes on medium heat and add garlic for another minute. Add the mushrooms and fresh thyme, stay on medium heat for 7-10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with white wine and move pan to oven for 10 minutes, or until the liquid is evaporated.

When you are ready to plate, return the pan to stove, medium heat, and add chicken stock. It is always a good idea to heat your stock in the microwave so that when you add it to the pan you are not dropping the temperature, and it will cook faster if preheated. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer.

Cut pork belly into strips approximately 4-5″ long, 1″ wide. Sear on high heat in a cast iron skillet or saute pan until crispy. Cut strips into 1″ cubes and add to the mushroom ragout.

You can salt and pepper to taste but be careful with additional salt at this point because the pork belly (or bacon) will bring a lot of savory flavors to the dish. I doubt you will need any additional salt, but let your taste buds be the guide.

Poach eggs, I prefer the Arzak method. Plate mushroom and pork belly, top with poached egg. For an added touch, I reserved a couple of the mushroom stems and ran them over a grater to get mushroom ribbons that you can use as a garnish. I thought my poached eggs were a little overdone but as it turned out my guests preferred them this way, or I would have prepared some more that featured softer yolks. Finely chopped parsley or chives make an alternative garnish.