There are those days when you just don’t have enough time or energy to do a lot of work in the kitchen but fancy a nice meal anyway. But it is perfectly possible to make tasty dishes in “low maintenance” mode. I have always been a big fan of minimalist cooking which is the best approach for this kind of food, so I have created a special category for it.
“Low maintenance” does not have to mean quick, though. It is all about minimizing the work (and ingredients) so you have more time to focus on different things.
For my recent weisswurst making session I needed pig skin which I took off a small piece of pork belly. I pondered several possibilites to take care of the remaining meat and decided to try something I have never done before: “braising” without liquid.
A cooking vessel with a tight lid is essential. I used my cast iron cocotte which worked perfectly fine. The meat and vegetables will give off enough water that the food won’t become burnt.
I used (yielding 2 portions):
- 600 g bone-in pork belly, skin off
- 3 potatoes (any kind will do)
- 1 yellow onion
- Herbes de Provence
- A bit of lard
- Salt and pepper
- Preparation: 10 minutes
- Cooking: 90 minutes
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Peel the potatoes and cut in chunks, peel the onion and dice coarsely. Season the meat with salt, pepper and herbs.
Heat lard (or oil) in the cocotte. Sear the meat on top and bottom for a few minutes on high heat. Remove meat, add onions and stir for a minute to pick up some of the residue. Add potatoes and stir some more.
Add some salt to the vegetables, put the meat on top, close the lid and put the cocotte in the oven. If the meat still looks a bit pale after 80 minutes you can remove the lid and turn on the grill to give it a nice tan.
Probably there will not be much gravy, if at all. If you feel fancy you can deglaze with stock or booze, but here I didn’t. Potatoes and onions will be tender and have nicely browned edges. The meat should be firm but tender.
p.s.: Please excuse the flare in the picture, I noticed too late that there was a fingerprint on the lense.