Monday, August 13, 2012

Baked Pork Belly Tocino in Milk by Chef Ron Bilaro

Pork is one of the largely consumed meat in America. Its tenderness and versatility had also made it as a favorite food staple.

Pork contains more protein than other meat, with 20.9 percent of it made up of protein.

Experts also say that pork contains less saturated fat, so there are lesser risks of clogging arteries. It also contains linoleic acid, which helps block out bad cholesterol.

Pork is also widely consumed by the Filipinos for the same practical reasons that the Americans do.

Aside from the lechon and the pork adobo, the sweet pork tocino another Pinoy pork recipe is very famous in the country.

Traditionally served for breakfast in the Philippines, “tocino” is derived from the Spanish word that means ‘bacon’ or ‘cured’ meat. To achieve its distinct caramelized texture, various methods and ingredients have been used in making the ideal tocino.

This week, Chef Ron Bilaro, a successful private chef and event organizer in Chicago, will teach you how to make a different kind of tocino—the Baked Pork Belly Tocino in Milk.

Baked Pork Belly Tocino in Milk
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 to 3 ½ hours for baking
INACTIVE time: 8 hours for soaking/marinate
• 3 pounds pork belly, cleaned and cut into desired portion sizes
• 1 quart whole milk
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 2 cups brown sugar
• ½ cup annatto powder or achuete
• 10 cloves garlic, minced
• 5 bay leaves
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  1. Place pork belly into a flameproof casserole. Combine milk, lemon juice, annatto powder, garlic, sugar and pour it over the pork. Cover with foil and keep in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Adjust oven rack to center of the oven and pre heat to 350 F.
  3. Add bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake for about 3 hours or until pork is tender.
  4. Check the casserole every 30 minutes to make sure the milk with the sugar does not burn.
  5. Add more milk if necessary.
  6. Remove pork from the liquid. Skim the fat form the milk mixture.
  7. Using a chinois or cheese cloth, strain milk sauce. Discard solid.
  8. Place milk marinade in a sauce pan, cook and reduce to about half, this may take 10 minutes. Taste the sauce. The sauce should be sweet and should be an red- orange color. Feel free to add more brown sugar and annatto powder to attain this consistency.
  9. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch with about half cup of the milk sauce in a small bowl. Whisk well until cornstarch is completely dissolved.
  10. Slowly whisk in to the simmering milk sauce on the stove. Continue to whisk until sauce becomes thick. This may take about 2 minutes. Turn off stove. Set sauce aside.
  11. Meanwhile, adjust oven to broil (450 F) adjusting the oven rack to about 8 inches from the top.
  12. Place pork belly pieces on a baking tray.
  13. Brush top of pork belly with milk sauce and broil for about 2 minutes until brown on top.
  14. Drizzle milk sauce on top before serving.

Chef Ron Bilaro

Chef Ron Bilaro is a graduate of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu program at The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. He is a chef known to many prominent families and corporations in the Windy City and the West Coast. Chef Ron even gained more publicity as Sous Chef to Art Smith, personal chef of Miss Oprah Winfrey. Chef Ron was recently launched at the One Go event and is now a certified Kapamilya. He is set to have a new show in TFC that involves a lot of traveling as well as finding great Pinoy eats all over  the world. For Chef Ron, having a cooking show is a dream come true. He said he is “excited” in “bringing my simple dishes to the show so people can make it at home.” A professional feature writer for Chicago Tribune as well as a regular contributor to
Baltimore Sun of Maryland and Sun Sentinel of Florida, Chef Ron is also currently working on his second book that is due to be released soon.

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