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Pork Belly for Foie


turkeybone
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So I have a vague idea of collecting some more popular/famous foie dishes, re-doing them using pork belly, and then making a blog about it and then making millions of dollars and becoming financially independent.

Haha well maybe not so much the last parts, but my chef and I were talking about a local place that got vandalized for having foie gras on the menu, and I said "well, you can pretty much replace foie with good pork belly and still have great results". Then my chef said something like "I have a friend who cooks at Ubunta at Napa, and I asked him how they come up with great vegetarian/vegan food, and he said in response 'just think of a great dish that you would put a piece of seared fish on, and leave off the fish (another thread altogether but this conversation is what sparked the following).'"

I'm not any kind of activist or (major) whackjob, but I would definitely like to explore cooking some foie dishes and then tweaking them to use pork belly and investigating the results. So Im interested in what ways you all would think this would or would not work. The most obvious one I think is the torchon. I guess I would also like to ask for some favorite specific foie dishes that I might experiment with (my first route would be to scour some high-end cookbooks), but that might be worth another thread altogether too.

Rico

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I wonder if you could tweak Boulud's foie burger using the fatcap off the pork belly and crisping up some quick-cured meat from the belly as bacon....

That sounds pretty tasty, and an easy introductory recipe.

No other ideas out there? I was just gifted 2.5 pounds of grade A foie from my chef :blink: , so I have real incentive to try these out now,

Rico

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Michel Richard has a "faux gras" recipe in his book. It is available online. It is basically made with butter and chicken liver.

I'm not sure I understand how pork belly could be used to make faux foie gras. I'm assuming you could make some kind of fat-meat emulsion. Is this what you had in mind?

I feel that adding liver (pork or chicken liver for instance) would help achieving the right texture and taste. That being said, I don't think you could ever be able to simply sauté a slice of faux-foie like you would with real foie gras... unless you use things like transglutaminase and some king of texture enhancers...

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How about quenelles? I once was pressed into service by a chef friend who handed over a soft package and a recipe, requesting "try this and report." (I did, and FAXed back a formal evaluation, keeping in the spirit.) If I remember, the flavoring meat (foie gras) was combined with white chicken meat, eggs or egg whites, cognac, slight seasoning, and a judicious amount of cream, in a food processor, the resulting paste dropped by spoonfuls into a poaching liquid. The question about the recipe was would the little dumplings take as much cream as chef thought, and hold together -- they did. Quenelle recipes are in standard French sources. Should work with any kind of flavoring meat (certainly pork belly). In one great, classic French comfort-food presentation -- it's in the LG or GC I think and named in honor of some cooking icon -- Lucullus, Brillat-Savarin, etc. -- duck-meat quenelles, with a little duck stock, are served over broad noodles.

(Incidentally, the vegetarian Ubuntu's renowned chef Jeremy Fox was previously, ironically, the meat expert at another high-end restaurant, and I enjoyed many of his carniferous creations. He likely had lots of experience with pork belly, that was the kind of rustic ingredient he liked to use.)

.. were talking about a local place that got vandalized for having foie gras on the menu, and I said "well, you can pretty much replace foie with good pork belly and still have great results"

Don't assume switching to pork belly will get you off the hook. If people can fixate self-righteously on FG as "cruel" (though the birds make it themselves in the wild, before migrating), and in California claim "force-feeding" (long illegal but that didn't stop the rhetoric), and never bother to actually visit the region's FG farm (some concerned chefs did -- including the one I mentioned -- long before most Americans ever heard of FG, and saw that the fattened birds roamed around apparently happily, better off than most farm animals, and that it was the feeder who actually needed protection, being mobbed on sight by the voracious birds), and can vandalize homes and businesses and threaten the lives of children, in the name of compassion or humanity, what's to stop them from taking on any other meat?
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