Franco and Tom’s Award Winning Sausage Stuffed Pork Belly

Pork Foodservice


  • 14 ounces swiss chard (Christian Finnegan)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onions (diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (crushed)
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage (removed from casing or ground pork)
  • 1 large egg (beaten lightly)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons currants (OR raisins soaked in hot water until soft, about 15 minutes)
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts (toasted in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until golden)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (chopped)
  • 1 pinch grated nutmeg
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pork belly (skin-on, about 5 pounds)


  1. 1. To make the stuffing: first prepare the chard by stripping the leaves from the stems. Cut the stems crosswise into ½-inch pieces and the leaves into 1-inch strips; set aside.
  2. 2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the onions, and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chard stems and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chard leaves, garlic, red pepper flakes, and cook and toss until the chard is wilted and any liquid that’s been released by the chard has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Put the chard mixture in a medium mixing bowl, and let cool. Add the ground pork and egg. Squeeze the breadcrumbs to remove any remaining milk, and then add to the chard-pork mixture. Drain the currants and add them to the bowl along with the toasted pine nuts, rosemary, nutmeg, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Stir until the stuffing is well combined.
  3. 3. Prepare the pork belly for stuffing by cutting a pocket in the meat: place belly, skin side up, on work surface. Starting on one long side of the belly, with your knife parallel to the cutting board, insert the knife about ½ inch down from the skin, and 1 inch from side of the belly. Cut to the other side. Be careful not to cut through, stopping about 1 inch from the other side. You have now transformed the belly into a hollow tube. Using a very sharp knife or box cutter, score the skin in diagonal lines in both directions, about ¾ inch apart and cutting no more than about ¼ inch deep, being careful not to cut too deeply into the fat.
  4. 4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  5. 5. Firmly pack the stuffing into the pocket, leaving the pocket open. Don’t worry if some of the stuffing falls out of the opening. Put the stuffed pork belly, skin-side up, on a rack in a roasting pan, sprinkle generously with salt and freshly ground pepper, and place in the oven for approximately 2½ hours or until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork. When the pork is done, if the skin is not golden and crackling crisp, increase the heat to 450°F and continue to roast for another 20 minutes.
  6. 6. Remove the pork belly from the oven, tent with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes or up to 45 minutes before cutting into ¾-inch slices. Consider serving the pork belly alongside mashed potatoes or soft polenta.
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