Sunday, August 28, 2011

Caramel Pork Belly Banh Mi Sandwiches

Here is another recipe from our anniversary picnic. This was the main course. Have you ever had a Banh Mi? I hadn't until I went to one of our favorite restaurants in Atlanta, Star Provisions, and I saw this sandwich on the menu. It is a very strange sandwich and it immediately intrigued me. It is typically made with some kind of pork, pickled veggies, cilantro, cucumber, and jalapenos. We loved Star Provision's version, so we just had to recreate it! The sandwich turned out awesome, it's just like an Asian sub. So good. Enjoy :)

Caramel Pork Belly Banh Mi Sandwiches
For the Pickled Veggies:
½lb Carrots, Completely Dried & Cut into Matchsticks
½lb Daikon Radish, Completely Dried & Cut into Matchsticks
3C Warm Water
3T Rice Wine Vinegar
3T Sugar
2T Salt

For the Sriracha Mayo:
3T Mayo
1T Sriracha
1t Lime Juice
¼t Soy Sauce (optional)

For the Asian Dry Rub:
1T Ground Ginger
1T Five Spice Powder
1t White Pepper
2t Salt
2t Garlic Salt
1T Brown Sugar

For the Caramel Pork Belly:
2lb Pork Belly, Cut into 1 inch Slices or Cubes
Prepared Asian Dry Rub
2T White Distilled Vinegar
3T Sugar
2T Warm Water
1 Large Shallot, Minced
1 Large Garlic Clove, Minced
1T Fish Sauce
½-1C Water

For the Banh Mi Sandwiches:
1 Large, French Baguette (Cut the sandwiches in half and then lengthwise)
Pickled Vegetables
Sriracha Mayo
Sliced Caramel Pork Belly
Thin Slices of Cucumber
Serrano Peppers, Thinly Sliced
Thai Basil Leaves (cilantro can be substituted as well)

1. To Make the Pickled Vegetables: In a small bowl, mix the warm water, vinegar, sugar, and salt together until everything is dissolved. In a large bowl, toss together the carrots and radishes. Once the vegetables are tossed together, tightly fill the vegetable mixture into mason jars. Pour the liquid into the vegetable jars until full (up to the top). Close the lid and let it pickle for at least 3 days, but preferably a week (making it more sour).
2. Preparing the Pork Belly: In a small bowl, mix together all of the spices for your dry rub and set it aside while you prepare your pork. Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the pork belly all over. The more you score; the more fat will be released, making the pork belly crispier. Turn the pork belly over and make incisions in the meat about ½cm deep and about 2cm apart. Rub the prepared dry rub into the pork flesh and on top of the skin, making sure to rub it into the incisions as well. Place, uncovered, into the refrigerator and let it marinate overnight.
3. To Make the Caramel Sauce: Add the sugar and water to a heavy bottom saucepan. Heat the pan on medium heat, and let the sugar melt. As the sugar begins to melt, the mixture will begin to turn golden brown. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture occasionally. As soon as it turns a medium golden brown, remove from the heat. When it is finish, set it aside until you are ready to glaze the pork belly.
4. Cooking the Pork Belly: In large saucepan, turn on heat to medium. Heat the oil and then add shallots. Slowly cook shallots for about 1 minute and add the garlic. Cook both until they become soft and fragrant. Add pork belly. Cook pork belly for about 10 minutes or until all the edges are seared and browned. Add fish sauce and cook pork belly for about another 5 minutes. Add about ½-1 cup of water. If you need more water to cover the pork, add more until the pork is covered. Turn heat to low and cook for about another 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Then add the caramel sauce. Continue braising the pork on low heat for about another 45 minutes-1 hour, or until pork is tender. Stir occasionally.
5. To Make the Sriracha Mayo: In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.
6. To Assemble the Banh Mi Sandwiches: Spread the Sriracha mayo on all of the sides of the bread and then stack all of the following ingredients on to the sandwich and enjoy!

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