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Steam Whistle and Apple Cider Braised Pork Belly, Toasted Barley Risotto, Caramelized Apple and Steam Whistle Reduction

This recipe was submitted by Chantha Hack and Juan Rippe, from Liaison College, Hamilton, Ontario.

Both Chantha Hack and Juan Rippe have had a passion for cooking since they were young. Playing with their food in the kitchen today brings back memories of their mothers telling them as a child, that it wasn’t polite to play with their food. Now it’s the “in thing to do” and everyone is doing it!

Chantha and Juan are graduates of the Culinary Arts Cook Basic Diploma program here at Liaison College, Hamilton campus and they are both currently attending the college for their Advance Level diploma program on a part time basis under the guidance of Chef Rob Cleland.

There are many challenges ahead in this Advance Level program for both Chantha and Juan but they are looking forward to these challenges. Both understand that with these challenges come victory or defeat but in the end, it’s a learning curve in the culinary industry that will lead them to greatness.


For the pork belly:
Season both sides of the pork belly with salt and ground black pepper. In a saute pan over middle high heat, sear pork belly, skin side first till golden brown on both sides.

Set pork into braising vessel that should give the pork room on all sides, skin side up.

In same saute pan, drain any excess fat that was rendered from pork bell, saving 1 tsp (5 ml) of fat. Sweat shallots over middle heat till transparent. Deglaze pan with some the of apple cider and add shallots to braising vessel.

In separate bowl combine the Steam Whistle, apple cider and rice wine vinegar, stir to combine and adjust seasoning to taste. Add liquid to braising vessel so that it comes up 2/3 of the way up the pork belly. If there is not enough braising liquid, add more apple cider or water till liquid reaches up to the desired level.

Cover and place into pre-heated oven at 275 F for 5 hours. Check after first hour to adjust seasoning or if addition liquids are needed. After 5 hours, pork should be butter soft to the touch. Remove pork from oven and turn oven broiler on.

Remove pork skin from pork belly and score the skin in cross hatching pattern. On bake sheet crisp skin under broiler to make crackling that can be used later for garnish. Reserve the braising liquid for later applications.

To serve; cube the braised pork belly into desired size then cut cubes into slices of desired thickness.

Toasted Barley Risotto:
Combine water and braising liquid, adjust seasoning and heat to a simmer in sauce pot. In saute pan, toast barley over middle heat till golden brown and nutty aroma is reached. In slope side sauté pan, over middle heat, melt 4 oz of butter and sweat shallots till transparent. Add a pinch of salt. Once shallots are transparent, add toasted barley to pan and stir to coat the barley with the fat. Turn up heat to middle high. Add the Steam Whistle Pilsner and stir till all the beer has evaporated and the flavour of the beer has been absorbed by the barley.

Now with a ladle, add simmering braising liquid to barley so that it just covers and stir. Continually stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed by barely. Add more braising liquid so that it just covers again. Stir till liquid has been absorbed again. Repeat adding liquid and stirring till barley has reached proper consistency and texture of risotto. Barley should be soft without being mushy.

When barley is done, take off heat, adjust seasoning and stir in last of the butter to finish.

Caramelized Apple:
In saute pan, over middle high heat, melt butter and sauté julienned apple until slightly brown. Add apple cider, turn down heat and let reduce to a thick glaze that glazes the apple.

Steam Whistle Reduction:
In sauce pan, combine the Steam Whistle Pilsner, brown sugar and crushed black pepper. Over middle heat, reduce mixture until it is au sec. Add braising liquid and shallot. Let reduce until it covers the back of a wooden spoon without running. Strain the sauce, finish with butter and adjust the seasoning with salt and ground black pepper.

For the Swiss Chard:
Heat saute pan until is it smoking hot. Add Swiss chard, for 10 seconds toss in hot pan over heat. Take off heat, add the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. The greens should be slightly wilted but still have a crisp texture to them.

To serve; nappe the greens with melted butter from pan.


For the pork belly:

  • 1 lb (454 g) pork belly
  • 2 cups (470 mL) Steam Whistle beer
  • 2 cups (470 mL) apple cider
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) rice wine vinegar
  • 2 large shallot, peeled and julienne
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  • 1/2 oz (15 mL) vegetable oil

Barley Risotto:

  • 8 oz (255 g) barley
  • 2 small shallots, fine diced
  • 6 oz (170 g) butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) Steam Whistle
  • 1 cup (235 mL) water
  • 1 cup (235 mL) braising liquid, strained (from braised pork belly)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Caramelized Apple:

  • 2 granny smith apples, julienned
  • 1 oz (28 g) butter
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) apple cider

Steam Whistle Reduction:

  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) Steam Whistle beer
  • 1/2 oz (14 g) brown sugar
  • 2-3 cloves of crushed black pepper
  • 1 cup (235 mL) braising liquid, strained (from braised pork belly)
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 oz (28 g) butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Swiss Chard:

  • 8 oz (255 g) Swiss chard, green leafs only, washed and cut into rough shred
  • 1 oz (28 g) butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste