with Brussels Sprout Pakoras & Autumn Vegetable Ragout

All About Beer Magazine - Volume 32, Issue 3
July 1, 2011 By
Chef Greg Higgins

This is a variation on a couple of standards we use here at Higgins. Starting with Garret’s ingredient list I selected a braise of pork belly that’s quite popular and then used our curried vegetable ragout (one of our vegan dishes) as a base for the succulent pork. To tie it together I wanted a crunchy texture to contrast the soft, lush flavors — so a pakora garnish fit the bill. The spice and citrus notes of the dish are echoed in the beer used in the preparation as well as to accompany the meal.

Braised Pork

2 lbs.          Pork belly – skin on
2 T.            Madras curry
10 ea.         Garlic cloves – peeled
4 oz.           Whole ginger – sliced ¼″
1 ea.            Orange – zest & juice
1 ea.            Lemon – zest & juice
1 qt.            Kolsch or Golden Ale
T.T.            Salt & pepper
2 T.            Olive oil

Season the pork belly with salt & pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom sauté pan over medium heat. Slowly sear and render the pork belly – turning it as needed – to a rich golden brown. Transfer the seared pork to a casserole and add the beer and all the seasonings. Cover tightly and braise in a 350 degree oven till the tip of a knife will easily penetrate the skin ( 3-4 hours). Remove from the oven and place the pork belly skin side down on a parchment lined pan. Cover with another piece of parchment, top with a pan and a weight to press it – refrigerate overnight. Strain the braising liquid, skim off the fat and reserve the stock for the ragout.

Ragout Ingredients

1 lb.            Dry Navy Beans – pre-soaked
1 ea.           Onion – peeled & diced
3 T.            Garlic – minced
3 T.            Shallots – minced
3 T.            Ginger – minced
2 T.            Madras curry
1 T.             Garam Masala
¼ c.           Olive oil
1 qt.            Pork belly braising liquid
1 ea.            Red bell pepper – diced
1 c.              Winter squash – peeled & diced
3 c.              Brussels sprout leaves
T.T.             Salt & pepper
½ c.            Sliced Almonds – toasted

In a heavy saucepan sauté the onion, garlic, shallot, ginger and spices in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Add the soaked beans and the braising liquid and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook the beans, stirring them occasionally – add water if needed, till they are just tender 1-1½ hours.  Add the diced squash and red pepper and season to taste with salt & pepper –  simmer till the squash is al dente. Stir in the peeled Brussels sprout leaves and hold warm while making the pakoras.

Brussels Sprout Pakoras

1 cup        White flour
1 cup        Chick pea flour
1 t.            Madras curry
1 t.            Garam Masala
1 T.           Salt
1 t.            Baking powder
2 T.           Lemon juice
2 ea.         Eggs
2 t.            Olive oil
Beer or ale
12 ea.        Brussel sprouts – halved
2 qts.         Oil for frying

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the eggs, oil, lemon juice and gradually whisk in enough beer to make a smooth batter with the consistency of heavy cream. Heat the oil for frying in a large saucepan over medium heat. While the oil is heating, slice the braised pork belly into 12 thick slices and reheat them on a pan in a 400 degree oven. Batter the brussel sprout halves and fry them in the hot oil till golden brown and crispy. Remove to a tray lined with paper towels to drain and season them. Portion the ragout into bowls, top with pakoras, slices of pork belly and a garnish of toasted almonds. Accompany with lots of Kolsch or Golden Ale and a good hot sauce.

Serves : 6