1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 1/2 tbsp. black peppercorns, divided use
7 cloves garlic, divided use
3 bay leaves, divided use
2 1/2 lb. pork belly
1/2 cup blended oil (75 percent canola and
25 percent olive)
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small onion, quartered
1 small carrot, quartered
1 cup white wine
1 quart pork stock (can substitute chicken
stock or broth)
Green garlic puree and to serve
4 heads green garlic
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided use
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup saba (see note)
1 cup fava beans, blanched and shelled
For pork: Place brown sugar, salt, 1 tbsp. peppercorns, 5 cloves garlic, 2 bay leaves and 8 sprigs thyme in a blender and pulse until coarsely chopped. Spread half of the mixture on the bottom of a casserole dish and place pork on top. Spread remaining mixture on top of pork so none of the meat is exposed. Cover and refrigerate. After 24 hours, rinse spice mixture from pork under cold water.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over high heat. Add pork and sear until browned on both sides. Transfer pork to a plate. Add celery, onion, carrot, 1/2 tbsp. peppercorns, 2 cloves garlic, 1 bay leaf and 1 bunch thyme to pot and cook over medium-low heat until vegetables are soft, about 6 minutes. Return pork to pot; add wine and simmer for about 6 more minutes. Add 3 cups stock and bring mixture to a boil. Cover and return to the oven for 2 to 3 hours. Turn pork every 45 minutes or so. The liquid should be just barely simmering. (Add more stock if pan gets dry.) When pork is very tender, remove it from liquid and set aside. Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and set aside. Allow pork to cool and cut into 1 1/2-inch squares.
For puree: Remove green stems from green garlic and set aside. Thinly slice the bottom parts of the green garlic. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat and sauté sliced green garlic and sliced garlic clove until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes; set aside. Blanch green garlic tops in a small pot until tender. In a blender, puree sautéed garlic and blanched tops until smooth, adding water as needed. Pass puree through a fine mesh strainer; season and set aside.
To serve: Place puree in a small saucepan on low heat, whisk in butter and keep warm. Place pork in a saucepan, add saba and 1 cup of the braising liquid and reheat pork. Remove pork from sauce and reduce liquid until it coats the back of a spoon. Place fava beans in a small sauté pan with about 1 tbsp. olive oil and cook until warmed through. Place puree on each plate, top with pork, fava beans and a drizzle of reduced sauce.
Note: Saba, a type of cooked grape juice, is available in specialty stores. You may substitute a homemade balsamic vinegar reduction.