Pork bellies and pickled cherries sandwich
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Instructions for 1 sandwich with enough pork and slaw for 4 or 5 more sandwiches
3 hours and 20 minutes
- 2 pounds fresh cherries, destemmed and pitted
- 1 1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 1⁄2 cup water
- 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 3 pounds pork belly, skin on
- 3 to 4 tablespoons Cajun or creole seasoning blend (view recipe)
- 1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 apple, julienned
- 2 small fennel bulbs, julienned
- 2 tablespoons of the green fennel fronds, chopped
- 1 6-inch bread roll
- mayonnaise and/or mustard
- 4 to 6 slices of pork belly (from above)
- apple fennel slaw (from above)
- pickled cherries (from above)
Pickled cherries: de-stem and pit all your cherries.
Add all ingredients except cherries to a medium pot over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Stir a few times to make sure the sugar has dissolved.
Add all the cherries to the liquid and simmer for 5 minutes or until the cherries soften.
After 5 minutes remove the pot from the heat and allow everything to cool for 5 or 10 minutes. Once the cherries have cooled a little, carefully transfer the cherries and all the liquid into mason jars or another container with a lid. Allow the closed container full of cherries and liquid to cool on the counter for 2 hours.
Refrigerate the cherries for up to three months.
For the pork belly: when you are ready to cook, preheat your oven to 300 degrees F (148 C).
Remove the pork belly from its packaging and dry the skin very well with paper towels. Cut shallow slices in the skin about a quarter inch apart, just cut through the skin and no deeper. Coat each piece of pork belly with the Cajun seasoning.
Place the pork belly on a sheet pan or baking dish, skin side up, and cook for 2.5 hours.
After 2.5 hours, remove the pork belly from the oven and raise the heat on the oven to 500 degrees F (260 C).
Move the pork belly to a wire rack, set it over a lined baking sheet, and place it in the oven for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. This is meant to crisp up the skin.
Remove the pork belly from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. If you want thinner slices, you can cool the pork belly in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 hours until the meat is firmer.
Apple and fennel slaw: add the apple cider vinegar, orange juice, Dijon mustard, and olive oil to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. This is the dressing for your slaw. Taste the dressing to see if it needs salt or pepper and add some to your taste.
Add the julienned apple and fennel to the bowl with the dressing and toss to combine. Add a couple of tablespoons of the diced-up green fennel fronds and toss everything again. Store the slaw in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Sandwich assembly: place 4 to 6 slices of pork belly into a medium pan over medium heat and allow the pork slices to cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side to warm up.
Slice a six-inch sandwich roll and spread mayonnaise and/or mustard on the bottom roll.
Add the slices of pork belly. Top the pork with 3 or 4 forks full of apple fennel slaw and then top the slaw with 6 to 8 pickled cherries that have been lightly chopped.
Top the sandwich with the top roll and serve.