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Recipe: Blackened Saddleberk Fresh Pork Belly with Dirty Rice

The top layer of fat will render enough to become crispy and keep the meat below moist throughout the roasting process. 

What you'll need (for 6-8 servings): 

  • 1 lb fresh Saddleberk pork belly
  • 4 tbsp blackening seasoning
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil 
  • 1 cup long grain rice 
  • 8 oz chicken livers
  • 8 oz Saddleberk bratwurst, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch green bell pepper, minced
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1/2 bunch sage, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

Score the top (the side with the thicker layer of fat) of the fresh belly in a diamond pattern about 1/4" deep. Season all sides of the pork with blackening seasoning salt. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a roasting rack on the top. Roast the fresh side on the rack for an hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven up to 450 degrees and cook an additonal 15 minutes to brown the top of the fresh belly. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. 

While the fresh belly is roasting, cook 1 cup of rice following the instructions on the bag. Once cooked, fluff with a fork and set aside uncovered so it does not overcook. 

Cut the onion, garlic and green pepper and set aside until needed.

Clean the kale under cold running water to make sure there is no dirt in the leaves. Cut the leafy green of the kale into 1/2" strips, discarding the thick stems. Set aside for later use. 

Chop parsley and sage and set aside. The will be the last ingredients added to the dirty rice. 

Finely chop the chicken livers. 

Start making the dirty rice when the fresh belly has 15 minutes remaining to be roasted at 325 degrees. Over medium-high heat, in a large sauté pan, warm 1 teaspoon vegetable oil until it starts to simmer. Crumble the chopped bratwurst into the pan and add the chicken livers. Turn the heat down to medium. Break the sausage and liver apart into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until any moisture that was released from the meat has evaporated. 

Add the onion, green pepper, and garlic mixture to the pan. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, over medium heat, until the peppers have become soft, about 15 minutes. 

Stir the cooked rice and kale into the sauce pan. Season with salt and pepper and continue cooking until the kale has become tender. Turn off the heat and finish the dirty rice with the chopped parsley and sage. 

After the fresh belly has rested, slice into 6-8 pieces and serve with dirty rice. 

Courtesy of Chef Jonathon Olson, head chef at The Keep (at the Hotel LeVeque, Columbus Ohio) and friend of Saddleberk.