Here’s my very loose interpretation of a recipe created by two-star Michelin chef Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca in the Catalonian town of Girona. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to duplicate his stunning food. To give one example: Roca obtains his pork bellies from local three-month-old pigs. For another, being an expert on sous vide cooking (his book La Cocina al Vacio is a seminal work), Joan prepares his pork bellies in a vacuum.
My approach is totally different for the home cook, yet, I think, yields excellent results. First I brine the pork belly; then I braise it in sweet muscatel wine along with lots of onions. After cooking, it is weighted overnight. The next day, I slice it and slowly glaze the slices in a cazuela along with apple slices plus a reduction made from caramelized sugar, sweet muscatel vinegar, and orange juice. Just before serving, the meat is reheated and served in the cazuela. I serve it as a first course with a lightly dressed green salad on the side. The result: updated home-style Catalan cooking at its best!