TASTE OF THYME: MARCH MADNESS

By Allison Davis

 

March Madness in the Bluegrass takes on a whole new meaning than other parts of the world.   Win or lose, Kentucky will always be basketball country and pre-game watch parties are definite. This year the wings are taking a back seat to the slider bar! Setting up a build your own slider bar allows for ease of set up for you as a host and everyone walks away happy with their very own customized sammy!  
With crisp pork belly sliders topped with a bourbon BBQ sauce, pickled red onions, and a hot & spicy sliced pickle served on a crisp buttered bun, you’re always the winner at the end of the buzzer!  
Slider Bar Suggestions are unlimited but start with these bumped up basics; chipotle mayonnaise, smoky bourbon ketchup, Asian slaw, pickled red onions, fried jalapeños, hot & spicy dill pickle chips, and more!

Crisp Pork Belly Sliders
Ingredients:
For the Slow Roasted Pork Belly
5 pounds pork belly
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the Asian Slaw
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
½ English cucumber, seeded and julienned
½ Fuji apple, julienned
½ red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup cilantro
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup mirin
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
pinch or more of red pepper flakes, to taste for spicy heat
For the Chipotle Mayonnaise
⅓ cup mayonnaise
1 medium chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 teaspoon adobo sauce
To assemble Sandwiches
dozen slider buns or dinner rolls
arugula
Instructions:
For the Slow Roasted Pork Belly
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Remove skin from the piece of meat. Score the fat cap in criss cross sections through the fat but not into the meat itself. Generously coat with salt and pepper, rubbing into the criss cross sections and on all sides of the meat.
Place in a roasting pan fat side up and roast in oven for 3 hours. After 3 hours, increase heat to 400 degrees and bake for another half an hour basting every 10 minutes until crunchy on top.
Remove from oven and let cool. You can make this ahead of time and put in refrigerator until ready to make sandwiches.
For the Asian Slaw  
Combine all ingredients. Put in refrigerator to chill for an hour or longer for flavors to blend.
For the Chipotle Mayonnaise   Combine ingredients. Chill in refrigerator until ready to assemble sandwiches.
To assemble Sandwiches
Slice pork belly into ¼” slices. If pork has been reserved in refrigerator, reheat slices in a 
fry pan.
Slice slider buns in half, slather sides with chipotle mayonnaise.
Layer arugula, two pork belly slices and a heaping of Asian slaw mixture. Top with bun 
and serve.

How to Make Quick Pickled Onions
Ingredients:
1 medium red onion, about 
5 ounces
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
Flavorings (optional):
1 small clove of garlic, halved
5 black peppercorns
5 allspice berries
3 small springs of thyme
1 small dried chili
Start 2 or 3 cups of water on to boil in a kettle. Peel and thinly slice the onion into approximately ¼-inch moons. Peel and cut the garlic clove in half.
In the container you will be using to store the onions, add the sugar, salt, vinegar, and flavorings. Stir to dissolve.
Par-blanch the onions: Place the onions in aw sieve and place the sieve in the sink. Slowly pour the boiling water over the onions and let them drain.
Add the onions to the jar and stir gently to evenly distribute the flavorings.
The onions will be ready in about 30 minutes, but are better after a few hours. Store in the refrigerator. They will keep for several weeks, but are best in the first week.

 

 

 



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