- 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. 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. 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. 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. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- 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. 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.