1 pound meaty fresh pork belly with skin, cut into 4 pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 leek, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
2 cups veal demiglace
2 cups water
4 thyme sprigs
3 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 pound asparagus, trimmed to 4-inch tips
12 medium dried morels (1 1/2 ounces)
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 large shallots, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 slice bacon
1/3 cup frozen baby peas
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 275°. Heat the oil in a medium enameled cast-iron casserole. Season the pork belly with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until golden brown all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate. Add the carrot, leek, onion and celery to the casserole and cook, stirring until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Return the pork to the casserole. Add the demiglace, water, thyme, parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns and bring to a simmer. Cover and bake for about 4 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender and the juices are reduced to 1 cup. Transfer the pork to a plate and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour. Strain the pan juices and skim off the fat. Boil the juices until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate.
Bring 1 1/2 cups of the chicken stock to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to a bowl of ice water to cool; drain and pat dry.
Remove the stock from the heat, add the morels and let soften for 30 minutes. Remove the morels and rinse under cold water; pat thoroughly dry. Strain the stock through a coffee filter.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add two-thirds of the chopped shallots and cook over moderately high heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the morels, reduce the heat to moderate and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the strained stock and simmer until nearly evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add the cream and simmer over moderately low heat until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
In a small saucepan, cook the bacon in the 1 teaspoon olive oil over moderate heat until crisp and golden, about 6 minutes. Remove the bacon and reserve it for later use. Add the remaining chopped shallots to the pan and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add half the peas and stir until coated with the fat. Add the remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock and cook over moderately high heat until the liquid is reduced by two-thirds, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender, add the remaining peas and puree until very smooth. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve. Return it to the saucepan and bring just to a boil. Whisk in the butter and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 275°. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium ovenproof nonstick skillet. Add the pork belly, skin-side down, and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Roast the pork belly in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until almost all the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp. 8. Meanwhile, rewarm the pork pan juices. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the asparagus and cook over high heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, rewarm the pork pan juices. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the asparagus and cook over high heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Place a piece of pork belly in the center of 4 large warmed plates and spoon the pan juices around the meat. Spoon the creamed morels to one side and the pea sauce on the other side. Garnish with the asparagus and serve.
The recipe can be prepared through Step 6 and refrigerated overnight; chill the components separately. Reheat the morel and pea sauces gently; do not let them boil.
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