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I finally had a chance to use my pressure cooker that I bought about a year ago.  I purchased it for two reasons:  #1 In Heston Blumenthal’s “In Search of Perfection” he suggests using a pressure cooker more often……SOLD! #2 I wanted to do a bunch of canning (never got around to it).

I purchased two 3.5# pieces of pork belly that I brined (one in Chinese 5 spice and the other in a smoked paprika/chili oil blend) then braised, then pressed.  The process when it comes to preparing pork belly is time consuming but with a few different pieces of equipment I was able to do this in record time….for me anyway.

The brining process took me the same amount of time….about 4 hours.  Luckily, Jethro has a vacuum chamber sealer so next time I’ll go that route and save even more time!  The cooking time of the pork belly is what really changed things.   Normally, a 3.5# piece of pork belly would take about an hour to an hour and a half to braise properly in the oven.  I knocked one out in 20 minutes then the other piece in 18 minutes.  The pressing and cooling process took another 45 minutes.

The next time around is what I’m excited about.  Essentially, I could have a piece of pork belly brined, cooked off, and ready for pressing in under an hour.   Time is everything in a kitchen and space is a concern at home.

The great thing is that I was able to dehydrate tapenade ingredients in my oven overnight then cook the pork belly in the pressure cooker. Once all of the tapenade ingredients were ready I placed them in my spice grinder then emulsified them with extra virgin olive oil then slowly worked in tapioca maltodextrin to create that pavement effect you see in the picture above.

After I made the two pork bellies I made a beef stock in the pressure cooker.  Traditional French style beef stock with all the bells and whistles in 45 minutes instead of 8-12 hours.  The only problem I had was that the stock was cloudy but I cleaned it up by cooking some egg whites in the stock which cleaned it right up.  I talked to Jeth and Scott about this and Jeth suggested after I make the stock to use the centrifuge so I will have a super concentrated stock…..genius.

The picture above is the 5 spice pork belly, tapenade “pavement”, and flower.  With a few more adjustments and tinkering I think this will turn out to be a world class dish.


15 p.s.i. ’til I die!