Monday Night Brunch | Pork Belly Bibimbap

I recently followed a debate/skirmish happening in the Atlanta area between a restaurant critic and some local chefs.  Let’s just say the chefs carried the day.  One wonderful chef who responded quite eloquently was Ron Eyester, or The Angry Chef of Rosebud in the ATL.  I discovered, not only is he tremendous in an argument, but he’s doing something fun at his restaurant: Monday Night Brunch.  Well, why on earth not, I asked myself?

So here’s Persephone’s version.  It’s a Korean, Seoul-food classic called Bibimbap.  With braised pork belly, a completely naked salad and a beautiful sunny side up egg on top, it’s a well-balanced dish that’s colorful, light, fresh and fun.  It’s bacon and eggs, kids, just with some Far Eastern flair.  So grab a Bloody Mary and some coffee and you’re good to go all night long.

Pork Belly Bibimbap

1 1.25 lb pork belly, seasoned with salt and pepper (There’s lots of fat, so you’ll only wind up with about 1/2 – 2/3 lbs of meat)

For the Marinade:

3 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 thumb of ginger, roughly chopped

1/4 cup of vegetable oil

1 T fish sauce

2 T soy sauce, the good stuff I picked up recently at Tensuke Market

1 t Sesame oil

2 green onions, roughly chopped

1 red chili, deseeded and roughly chopped

1 small handful of fresh coriander

Combine the meat and marinade ingredients a ziplock bag or casserole dish for as long as you can.  3 hours is good, overnight is better.

For the braise:

1 T vegetable oil

1 medium onion, roughly sliced

1 carrot, roughly diced

1 garlic clove, diced

1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and diced, or simply grated

4-5 cups of homemade chicken stock.  At the risk of repeating myself, if you don’t have any, use water

Heat a heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pan until fairly hot.  Sear the pork belly on all sides until browned.  Remove and set aside.  Turn the heat down, letting the pan cool a little and add the onions, ginger, and garlic.  Add the oil when you feel you need more moisture.  Soften for 6-8 minutes.  Return the pork to the “bed” of onions, cover 1/2 to 2/3 of the way with stock, and boil.  Then cover, place in the oven at 300 F degrees.  Leave it in there for at least 3 hours, but longer is better.

For the salad:

1/2 of an English cucumber, sliced into ribbons with a peeler

4 inches of daikon radish, sliced as above into ribbons

1 carrot, sliced into ribbons

1 small bunch of watercress, cut into chiffonade (doesn’t have to be perfect)

1 small handful of daikon sprouts or similar

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and toss a couple of times with your fingers.

While the belly is braising, make your salad, and prepare about 1 cup of rice, stirring in some fresh chopped coriander when its done.  Finally, make your sunny-side up eggs.

There aren’t strict rules for serving, but make sure the egg’s on top.  And two more things:  1. season with soy sauce, and 2. the spicy, but not too spicy, chili pepper paste is oh-so-not optional.

Playlist included Can You Tell, by Ra Ra Riot.

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