Braised pork belly on a bed of fresh arugula

As promised in today’s Seasonal Pantry, here’s a recipe for Strong Stock. It’s easy to make, though it must simmer for several hours.

The column focuses on pork belly, once rarely available other than as bacon, and now common in restaurants and increasingly available to the home cook.

Strong Stock • Makes about 12 cups

  • 2 pounds pork ribs or necks
  • 2 pounds pork butt or shoulder, fat trimmed away, in chunks
  • 3 pounds chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil or olive oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch green onions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 ham hock
  • 3 ounces fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons white peppercorns
  1. Put the pork and chicken in a large stockpot, add the salt and enough water to cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok or saute pan set over medium heat. Add the shallots, leeks and scallions and cook, stirring frequently, until limp, about 7 minutes.
  3. Drain the pork and chicken, rinse the pot and return the meats to the pot. Add the cooked vegetables, the ham hock, the ginger, the peppercorns and enough water to cover everything by 2 inches.
  4. Set the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that forms on top and reduce the heat to low. Simmer very gently for at least 5 hours, adding water as necessary to keep the ingredients covered. Do not stir; continue to cook until the stock is rich and concentrated.
  5. Remove from the heat, cool and gently pour the stock through a strainer into a large container.
  6. Cover and refrigerate the stock until fully chilled. Remove and discard the fat that congeals on the surface of the stock.
  7. Use within 3 days or freeze and use within 3 months.

    One of my favorite things: Pork belly with poached eggs topped with pork belly pan sauce and Tapatio hot sauce