Take your taco Tuesday up a notch, and make these braised pork belly and sweet potato tacos! Crispy, tender pork belly really makes these tacos shine!
Pairings for Braised Pork Belly and Sweet Potato Tacos
As I was brainstorming new recipes for Cooking and Beer, I realized that I go through phases. I go through pasta phases and taco phases, appetizer phases and bowl phases. I just recently went through a Thanksgiving phase. It was time that I posted another taco recipe because let’s be honest, a month is too long not to share a taco recipe. So anyway, I’ve shared braised pork belly on this blog before. Last time I shared a recipe for it, I did it in the form of ramen. After our most recent trip to Portland, I forgot how amazing pork belly is in tacos.
The thing about pork belly is it takes some care. It takes a while to make because it usually needs to cook for a long time. Although this is an annoying part about making pork belly, the end result is so worth it. Besides, a lot of the time it takes to make the perfect pork belly is completely inactive. These tacos are fantastic you guys. They are worth the time. They are so packed full of flavor and the pork belly…oh my, the pork belly. It’s just so good. Here are some pairings that I just love with this pork belly:
Beer Dubbels aren’t usually something I pair with. They are so complex that it can sometime be hard to pair with food. One thing I know and love about dubbels is their caramel-like character. They also can be slightly sweet which pairs just perfect with this pork belly. Let’s be honest this pork belly is like biting into a piece of candy, and the pairing could not be more perfect.
1 1/2 pounds pork belly, cut in half to create two 6-inch pieces (if necessary)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, loosely chopped
1 cup beer (I used a dubbel)
1 cup chicken broth
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced small
salt and black pepper
olive oil (as needed)
charred corn tortillas
queso fresco cheese, crumbled
OPTIONAL: guacamole, sour cream, tomatillo salsa
In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, grapeseed oil, lime juice, mirin, ginger paste, and garlic. Pour the marinade into a large ziploc bag and add the pork belly to it. Seel, releasing any air, and massage the marinade into the pork belly. Place it in the fridge and marinate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
Once the pork belly has marinated, remove it from the fridge and remove the pork belly from the bag (make sure to save the marinade). Pat the pork belly dry with paper towels.
To a large enameled cast iron braising pan, or a pan that is oven safe, add the canola oil and set it over medium-low heat. Add the pork belly and sear on all sides until brown and caramelized. This will take a bit of time, about 15 minutes. Remove the pork belly from the pan and set it aside, but leave the pan over heat. Pour most of the fat from the pan into a small bowl (you will use this later), reserving about a tablespoon in the pan.
Add the onion to the pan and season with salt. Cook until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes and then stir in the beer, remaining marinade, and chicken broth. Add the pork belly back to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the braising pan with a lid or foil and place it in the oven. Braise the pork belly for 2 hours and then remove the lid and braise uncovered for an additional 1 hour.
During that last hour of braising, prepare your sweet potatoes. Add the diced sweet potatoes to a shallow baking dish or baking sheet. Also add the reserved fat to the pan with the sweet potatoes and toss. If you don't have any fat left or forgot to reserve it, you may use a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and place the potatoes in the oven to roast. Roast the potatoes until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, covered, until you are ready to assemble your tacos.
Once your pork belly has finished braising, remove it from the oven and then from the pan and set it on a cutting board to rest for a couple of minutes. Then cut the pork belly into bite sized pieces.
Assemble your tacos by layering baby kale, sweet potatoes, pork belly, queso fresco and cilantro on top of charred corn tortillas. Serve immediately and enjoy!