It’s Paleo. It’s Pork. And It’s Brunch.

1 Feb
Ain't brunch grand?

Ain’t brunch grand?

Note to vegan readers—this post really isn’t going to rock your world. You should probably come back later. 

Although it’s been pretty crazy with the move, the holidays, then The Husband’s birthday celebrations, we’ve still managed to do a bit of entertaining in the new house. We’ve managed to make a few new friends up here, and we invited Jonelle over one Sunday after a walk in the park with our doggies.

The day before, I was panicking a little bit, because I wasn’t sure what to make for brunch. I wanted something hearty, something delicious and something paleo that everyone would enjoy. As I wandered the Santa Barbara farmer’s market for the first time, I spotted Jiminez Farms, a local rancher and purveyor of hormone-free, free-range meats.

Straight out of the slow cooker. It was so tender, and the seasoning was subtle but delicious.

Straight out of the slow cooker. It was so tender, and the seasoning was subtle but delicious.

Pork belly? Oh yeah. I was inspired. I was then further inspired by the fact that you could cook pork belly in the slow cooker. How cool would that be, I thought? It will take so much work out of the morning! Well, that didn’t exactly happen, but it was nice to have it cooked that morning.

A warning though: cooking anything in the slow cooker overnight is a mixed blessing. Yes, you have a delicious meal waiting for you when you wake up, which is fantastic. What’s not so fantastic is waking up STARVING because the smell of pork belly has been driving you crazy in your dreams for the last two hours!

But readers, it was delicious. I made a Japanese yam rösti topped with garlicky sautéed kale, crisped pork belly and fried egg. Oh, and redeye gravy. Life was good, what with the brunch, some spicy Bloody Marys and mimosas, and sitting on the porch afterwards watching the dogs enjoy the yard.

The dish isn’t really difficult, it’s just getting all the elements ready at the same time. And if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can braise the pork belly in the oven for several hours instead.

Slow-Cooker Braised Pork Belly

2 lbs. free-range pork belly
1 cup white wine (any will do)
Several sage leaves, fresh
1 Tbsp. honey
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 Tbsp. Celtic sea salt
Several grinds of fresh black pepper

Throw the pork belly in. Cover with the rest of the ingredients. Turn the slow-cooker to its lowest setting for 6-8 hours. Mine has a timer, so it will go off without you doing anything. It was a lovely Christmas gift!

Once the pork belly is cooked, you’ll want to crisp it up before serving. Cut it into 3-inch square pieces (or whatever size you think is best for your guests), and put on a foil-covered baking sheet. As close to serving as possible, get them under a hot grill or broiler to make sure that top level of fat gets nice and crispy.

Serve with whatever floats your boat!

Redeye Gravy

It’s not traditional, but I took the drippings from the slow cooker and added about 1/2 cup of espresso. I pulled about 1/4 cup of the mixture out, blended it with 3 Tbls. of arrowroot and whisked it into the gravy to thicken it as it reduced. Simmer for 30 minutes to one hour until a thick gravy forms.

Japanese Yam Rösti

2 medium Japanese yams1 white onion
2 Tbls coconut flour
Celtic sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Throw the yams and the onion in the food processor using the grater disk. If you don’t have one, you’ll have to go old-school with a box grater. I hope you have some onion goggles, because I was crying even with the food processor.

Mix the flour and the spices into the grated veggies, making sure it’s coated. Heat oil, butter or bacon fat in a frying pan and put in the mixture, spreading out as evenly as possible. Cook on medium low heat until it’s crispy on one side. Flip as carefully as possible—I think the traditional way is to put a plate over the top of the pan, flip it over, and slide it from the plate back into the pan. But my dinner plates weigh 5 pounds each, so that doesn’t work for me. I just massacre it by trying to flip it with a spatula.

Once crispy on both sides, place it in a low oven until ready to serve.

I really don’t have to tell you how to make garlicky sautéed kale, do I? No, I don’t. Now get in the kitchen and make some damn pork belly. You’re welcome.



19 Responses to “It’s Paleo. It’s Pork. And It’s Brunch.”

  1. sugaredpecan February 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    I love meals like this!!! Looks very yummy!

    • tinykitchenstories February 1, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

      Thanks so much! I can’t wait to try it again with a variation. Not sure what yet! 🙂

  2. lorrielorrieb February 1, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    I know what you mean about the over night slow cooker…can drive you crazy!! I was wondering if you might do a post some time soon giving us a run down on what exactly “Paleo” is all about. I’ve seen a lot of cook books in the store and have tried to kind of look it up…..but I thought maybe you could give us the plain and simple of what it’s about? I enjoy your explaining!

    • tinykitchenstories February 1, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

      Lorrie, I’d love to! Thank you so much for suggesting it. It’s really been working well for me. It will probably be a week or so, as I’m off to Cuba next week where my computer/phone won’t work! There will be photos…. 🙂

      • lorrielorrieb February 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

        I’m very glad for you that your stuff “won’t work” some times it is really good to have a break!! Have fun and don’t get a sun burn!!

        • tinykitchenstories February 2, 2013 at 6:35 am #

          I’m also glad–it will be so nice to have an electronic vacation! Sunscreen packed. 🙂

  3. girlinafoodfrenzy February 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    Now this…this is definitely the stuff my foodie dreams are made of. If I had pork belly slow roasting for a brunch, I’d be inclined to sit there and just watch the cooker. I’d just sit there and inhale those beautiful flavours! Wow, paleo!!! Who’d have thought!

    • tinykitchenstories February 2, 2013 at 6:37 am #

      It was tough to leave it to go on the walk, for sure. But eating it was a real pleasure. Can’t wait to make it again! Thanks, as always, for your supportive comments.

  4. The Mouse February 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    That second picture, borderline porn. Then I fainted. Regained consciousness wanting a smoke. Hee hee.

    • tinykitchenstories February 2, 2013 at 6:36 am #

      I had a feeling you’d like this post, Mouse! It made me hungry just looking at my own pictures, which I think is a good sign. I hope you didn’t hit your head when you fainted! 😉

  5. tlow2323 February 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Savory deliciousness!

  6. Mama's Gotta Bake February 12, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    You had me at pork belly!

    • tinykitchenstories February 13, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

      Just like it had me at the farmer’s market! Hard to resist…

  7. eof737 February 21, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    Your recipes and photos are terrific…Makes me hungry. 😉

  8. Meenakshi March 14, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    I wish I had a slow cooker with a timer! In India we end up pressure-cooking meats most of the time. Boy does that look good. So tender and juicy! And I love the rosti!

    • tinykitchenstories March 14, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

      I have another one coming out soon, in the next week or so. I’m a bit of a pork belly fan! It’s great just slow-roasted in the oven, too. Pressure cookers are supposed to be great, but I’m scared I’ll blow the kitchen up! 🙂


  1. Bacon and Eggs | Gourmet On The Go Blog - February 8, 2013

    […] It’s Paleo. It’s Pork. And It’s Brunch. ( […]

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