This recipe comes from Mike Dolegowski and Mackenzie Chiu, who are partners in a catering business (M3 Foods in Toronto). They will be opening a new sandwich shop called Fuel House in the fall. This sandwich is a modern take on the classic Vietnamese banh mi, replacing the standard cold cuts with a more indulgent pork belly.
Mike makes a bone marrow butter by roasting the bone marrow, then combining the marrow with the herbed butter as below. It may seem like a lot of steps but you can make all the components well in advance and they can be used separately.
Pork Belly Confit:
4 cups water
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup kosher salt
3 pound piece of pork belly, skin on
3-4 cups lard, duck fat or vegetable shortening
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
1 daikon radish, thinly sliced
½ English cucumber, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoon sugar
1 cup white vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 red Thai chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped (or ½ teaspoon sambal oelek)
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon coriander, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon shallots, chopped
4 soft but crusty buns
12 sprigs coriander
1 red Thai chili pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
Combine water, maple syrup and salt in a sealable plastic bag. Add pork belly, squish out any air, and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 200 F.
Discard brine, rinse pork belly with water and pat dry with paper towels.
Place pork belly in an ovenproof pot just large enough to hold it. Heat lard in a separate pot until liquid and pour over pork belly to cover. Cover pot with lid and slow roast for 4 ½ to 5 ½ hours or until meat is fork-tender. Remove from oven and let cool in fat. Remove skin and reserve.
Combine carrots, daikon, cucumber, salt and sugar and toss to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Rinse with cold water and pat dry.
Combine vinegar, sugar, garlic and chili and soak vegetables in liquid for 2 hours or until lightly pickled.
Coarsely chop reserved pork belly skin, place in a frying pan over medium low heat Fry for 30 minutes or until browned and crispy.
Cut cooled meat into ½-inch thick slices and place in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Fry for 2 minutes a side or until lightly browned. Add reserved crispy skin to reheat if desired. Cut meat into cubes.
Mash together butter, coriander, parsley, garlic and shallots. Reserve.
Slice bun in half. Spread with herbed butter. Place cubed pork belly into bread, top with a few pieces of crispy skin and cover with pickled vegetables. Garnish with a few sprigs coriander and chopped Thai chili peppers. Repeat with remaining ingredients.