Pork Belly Macaroni and Cheese!

Mandi and I had been wanting to make mac and cheese for a
week or 2. We knew we didn’t want to go
out on the weekend but rather keep it low key so we decided to make the macaroni
and cheese on Friday night and watch the top chef I had downloaded. On Thursday while shopping for tacos, I was
minding my own business in the store when what did I see but a pack of
beautiful slabs of pork belly! This is a
rare find in Bermuda so I snatched it up without
even thinking of what we would do with it.
After brainstorming for a bit, we decided to incorporate it into the mac
and cheese we had been craving. We decided
that a BBQ Sauce flavor would help bring the pork belly and mac and cheese
together as one. It is hard for me to do
this post today because now I am craving this again! It was one of the best
things we have made in a very long time and now im starving for a huge scoop of
pork belly mac and cheese!

We decided to make BBQ sauce and we looked around online a
bit. Bobby flay had a great looking
recipe for mesa grill BBQ sauce on the food network website so we went with
that. The calls for ancho chile powder
and pasilla chile powder. We found some
dried anchos and dried de arbols so we decided to use those for the powder.

Pork belly… so good!

Getting tomatoes ready for the BBQ sauce.

Season the belly

Start the sauce by sautéing butter, garlic and red onions.

Then add the tomatoes

Then the bowl of ingredients shown before.

Meanwhile Mandi was prepping some cheese.

We went with a blend of cheddar, mozzarella, and gruyere.

Put this in the blender

This is some of the best BBQ sauce you will ever have.

Sear the belly on all sides

Put the blended sauce into a deep pot. Put the pork belly in here after it is
seared. Add some water if they are not

We went with this type of pasta that’s kinda like a cross
between elbow and mini shells.

How awesome does THAT look?
These came scored already but if they aren’t, do that.

We wanted some contrast in the pasta so we went with
cauliflower because it does well with cheese and bakes.

The beginning of the roux for the sauce.

Sorry for the blur, this is the pork belly after simmering
on low for about an hour and a half.

Cook pasta at least 3 minutes less then it says on the box. It will cook more in the oven.

Depending on your preference, you can take off some of the
fat or keep it all. I believe we left
most of it but took off the chewier bits.
Most of the belly cooks up to a very delicious texture and flavor and isn’t
like a lot of the fat that is chewy and hard or impossible to eat.

The cheese in the roux

Add the diced up belly, cauliflower, and a small amount of
red onion back into the cooking sauce and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Strain out everything into the baking dish. Strain it slightly better then we did. You want a good amount of BBQ sauce into the
pasta but it is possible that we had slightly too much.

Hungry yet?

Grate some parmesan on top and also a handful or so of
breadcrumbs. Hi Amy!

Some things words can’t describe. A bunch of food porn comin right up.

Mesa BBQ sauce
1 lb pasta (elbow mac is good)
½ lb gruyere
½ lb mozzarella
1 ½ lb cheddar.
1 head cauliflower
1 ½ lbs pork belly
Red onion

Feeds probably about 5 fatty’s or up to 8 normal adults

Place the sauce in a deep pot.
Sear the pork belly on all sides in a very hot pan.
Add pork to pot with sauce and simmer on low partially
covered for about an hour and a half. Add
water if pork is not fully covered.
Grate and combine all cheeses
Bring water to a boil, cook pasta 3 minutes less then box
Heat and whisk 3 tablespoons of butter and flour on medium
low until combined and lump free. About 5
Add 3 cups of milk, simmer for 5 minutes
Add most of the cheese.
Stir till somewhat smooth
Remove pork belly from braising liquid
Dice and remove unwanted parts (if there are any), return to
sauce with cauliflower and a small amount of diced red onion.
Drain pasta and put in baking dish
Add pork belly, cauliflower, and red onion with its coating
of sauce
Add cheese mixture
Fold and mix
Grate some parmesan on the top, add the rest of the cheese
(if it fits) and some breadcrumbs
Put in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes, if the top doesn’t
look delicious, broil it for 2 minutes.

The hardest part – let sit for 5 or 10 minutes before scooping!