Pork Belly with Fennel Slaw


Menu development is one of my favorite parts of hosting dinners. When you find those recipes that are endlessly perfect, I just can't wait to bring it to a crowd. My Ma made me this Pork Belly with Fennel Slaw for Sunday Supper last week. My family devoured every last bit of pork belly, leaving nothing but a bit of slaw.

Pork Belly is essentially just uncured bacon. It has lovely fat marbling that adds tremendous flavor to just about anything. The fennel slaw cuts through the richness of the belly with its aromatic flavor and echoes the toasted fennel seed in the dry rub. I prepared this last night as tacos and again, not a single morsel left. Serve as an appetizer or simply braise the belly for tacos and sandwiches. Catch this recipe on our pre fixe tasting menu at Cipollina in Austin for the #SXSWPIGROAST


adapted form Mario Botali  



1/2 cup Brown Sugar

2 tablespoons Fennel (toasted and ground)

3 tablespoons Salt

3 tablespoons Rosemary (finely chopped)

1 tablespoon  crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Remove skin from Pork Belly. Cross score the fat. Set aside. Mix all ingredients and generously rub onto scored pork belly. Set aside. 


2 pounds  Pork Belly (skin removed)

2 Carrots 

3 stalks Celery 

1/2 Red Onion (sliced)

2 Fennel Stalks


1 tablespoon  Fennel Seeds

1 bottle Beer

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Carrots 

3 stalks Celery 

1/2 Red Onion (sliced)

2 Fennel Stalks

1 tablespoon  Fennel Seeds

1 bottle Beer

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop vegetables into large 1/2 inch chunks and set aside. In a Dutch oven of large cast iron, heat a heavy pour of olive oil and add prepared belly, fat side down. Once deep brown, flip to other side. Add vegetables. Pour in beer. Place uncovered in oven. Cook for two hours and serve atop of slaw.



1 small head green cabbage, shredded 

1 head red cabbage, shredded  

1 Red Onion, sliced

1 bulb Fennel, thinly sliced

1/4 cup Mint, chopped

1/4 cup Basil Leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

2 tablespoons Honey

 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

Salt and freshly ground Pepper

Shred slice and chop vegetables and herbes. Mix together with seasonings and stir to combine. Set aside.


1 cup reserved  braising drippings

5 cups apple cider

1-2 cups ketchup


Juice of 1/2 Lemon

1/2 cup Brown Sugar

1/4 cup Mustard 

3 tablespoons Soy Sauce

3 cloves Garlic

Remove belly from braise. Drain vegetables and place remaining juice in a gravy separator. The jus and the fat will separate. Pour off as much fat as possible and reserve. In a medium sauce pan heat pork jus on medium heat. Add all ingredients while constantly tasting. Adjust flavors to your liking. Simmer until thick. Pour atop sliced Pork Belly. Serve immediately.  

SXSW Pig Roast

I am please to announce my first Texas Pig Roast for SXSW! Join us March 19th at Cipollina in West Austin for a celebration of a well fed hog from Countryside Farm in Cedar Creek, Texas, just 20 miles from Austin. Country Side Farm humanely raises their pigs outdoors where they are free to roam and forage the land. They specialize in heritage hogs like Duroc and New Hampshires with genetics tracing back to the 1800's. I am excited to make use of Cipollina's Wood Fired oven with pizzas, empanadas and porchettas to honor these animals.

Follow @eclkdomestic for locations on Secret Street Eats



Botany in the Limelight Recipe Round Up

My head has finally stopped spinning after the decadent Friday evening that was Botany in the Limelight at Peace Tree Farm. I can't really put to words how much fun I had putting this dinner together. I simply love bringing passionate people from the farming collective together and showcasing their amazing products. Its a real dream for a cook. That being said I have been getting a lot of recipe requests from guests and since I believe that cooking is a lifeskill that everyone is entitled too, I want to share some of my recipes from the dinner. Within all of these recipes, I would like to point out the importance of freshness in the ingredients. My food is good because I use top quality local products for my dinners. It is vital that the ingredients you use be of sound practice. The finest quality beef, dairy and produce make all the difference.

One of my favorite features of the dinner was our live salad bar from the green house. Alex cultivated all of our greens for that evening in the green house and we did not harvest until we were about to plate. We used a mix of pea shoot and spring mix as well as baby herbs like thai basil. Most greens that we get this time of year have been shipped out of from California and are at least 5 day old. The freshness makes all the difference!

I have also been asked how I put this menu together in terms of coursing. I love the tradition of ending a meal with cheese. I was taught this by many french chefs and always find that I experience the cheese more fully after a well balanced meal. Here are a few of my favorite recipes from the dinner:

Recipe Round Up

Spicy Ginger Simple Syrup 

2 cups water

1 cup sugar

4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

Combine sugar, red pepper flakes, ginger, and 2 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat, cover, and steep for 30 minutes. Strain ginger syrup into a jar. Serve with seltzer or whisky, or both...

Alex's French Breakfast Radish with Fresh Butter

a dozen french breakfast radishes 

1 pint good heavy cream (I used seven star farm)

salt to taste 

In a mixer, mix cream on high, past the point of whipped cream, about 5 minutes. Roll radishes in salt and then spread a teaspoon of butter atop. Enjoy immediately! 


4 cups venison scraps

2 cups venison stock

1 cups corn meal

1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup lard

1 tbsp herbes de provence

salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium sized pot, boil venison scraps in venison stock. If chunky puree with immersion blender or food processor. Add corn meal and cook until boiled. Add buckwheat flour, lard and seasonings. Scrap into loaf pan and freeze. Cut to serve.

Mushroom Puff

1 pound Puff Pastry

Chicken Liver Pate

Chopped Sautéed Mushroom 

Cut 1/2 inch circles of the puff pastry with a cookie cutter. In a greased mini muffin pan, lay each puff pastry circle into pan creating a little dish. Poke with fork 2 times to allow air to escape. Lay a teaspoon of pate on base of puff pastry and then add a teaspoon of mushrooms. Repeat process till you run our of puff pastry! Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until golden. 

Bleu Cheese Pecan Spread

8 oz good cream cheese
2 cups blue cheese dressing
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
4 oz crumbled blue cheese

Beat cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth. Add dressing. Stir in 1 cup pecans and crumbled blue cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread on fresh pears or apples. 

Crispy Shallots 

16 shallots, cut lengthwise into rings

3 cups vegetable oil

In a cast iron skillet, place shallots. Add oil and bring to a simmer. Stir until shallots are golden. Remove and place on paper towel. Stay crispy for 3 days in airtight container. 

Lavender Short Bread

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

1 pound butter 

6 teaspoon lavender, roughly chopped

4 large egg yolk

4 teaspoon vanilla extract 

4 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon flakey sea salt

Cream the sugar, honey and butter. Add lavender, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix till combine. Slowly add the flour and the salt to the wet ingredients. Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and roll the dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Freeze for about a half hour. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from the freezer, slice, and bake for 7 to 8 minutes. The edges will turn slightly golden. Cool on rack and enjoy with tea or make an ice cream sandwich!


Photos by JOI Photography & Lloyd Traven