Maple Brined Pork Belly and Purple Sweet Potato Hash
Again with another one of those recipes that in order to name it you ( meaning me) pretty much names almost all the ingredients in the title. Maple Brined Pork Belly and Purple Sweet Potato Hash. I almost added in “breakfast” and realized I would so totally eat this at any time of day. Probably at night. When I am more likely to eat “breakfast” foods. I love breakfast for dinner. Its kind of hard to beat Brinner.
One of the things I love about the blogging world, food blogging in particular is social media. The chance to “meet” and make friends and relationships with other bloggers and brands from all over. People I probably wouldn’t ever get to know without a smart phone and apps or a computer and internet access. Twitter is a good platform for meeting and chatting. Since my food philosophy is organic, non-gmo and locally sourced as much as possible I try to find brands that fit that profile. Living in Vegas its not always easy to find locally grown produce. We do have an orchard here, Gilcrease Orchards, that we have taken our kids to for apple picking last fall and it was awesome. But there are a lot of items I love that just don’t grow in Vegas. Like tropical fruits. I can find them at Whole Foods once in a while but they are hit and miss. Enter Frieda’s Produce.
I don’t remember exactly how I found Frieda’s on Twitter, but I started chatting back and for and once I looked up their website I was hooked. They have a HUGE variety of organic produce, especially exotic fruits and a tuber than is near and dear to my heart, the purple sweet potato. They have a variety called the Stokes Purple Sweet Potato. Its not quite the same as the Okinawan Purple sweets that I used in my Coconut Butter Poached Lobster recipe, but very similar. I have a hard time finding purple sweets in Vegas. Best part of the Stokes is they are grown in California and Non-Gmo. Just like me! ha ha. I consider California close enough to be “local”.
I got to yapping with Frieda’s via Twitter and one of their reps emailed me asking me if I was interested in a sample of some of the purple sweets. Like I was going to say no. They told me that the Stokes aren’t as sweet as the Okinawan, but I think they are very similar. The Okinawan have a tan skin and the deep purple insides where the Stokes have a purple skin but the same deep purple inside. Taste wise I personally think they are very similar. I realized I shredded ALL the Stokes purple sweets before I took a picture of them. OOPS. Here are pics from Friedas HERE and on their Pinterest board HERE.
In keeping with the theme of organic and local I am using some of the pork belly we got from our pork share from the Christiansen Farm. Pork belly aka uncured bacon is very popular in Asian cuisines and is making its way into American cuisines more and more. It is really not that hard to work with and with the brining method I used there is so much flavor in it. The salty pork goes so well with the mild sweetness of the Stokes purple sweet potatoes and the maple really brings it all together nicely. I got a text from my husband last night who took it to work for dinner, ” That hash was awesome. You got a winning recipe”. He is my official taste tester and if he says its good, then its good. Then again he is like a goat and eats everything. I would hope he would tell me when something isn’t good but I have never seen him turn down a meal.
And of course. Put an egg on it.
- 1lb pork belly, skin off
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ¼ c plus 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- ¼ c water
- 1 tbsp Sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Garlic – 3 cloves, minced
- Shallot – 1 small, minced
- 2 medium stoke purple sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
- 4 large eggs
For the Brine:
- In a small saucepan heat the water, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and salt until all is combined and the salt is dissolved. Let cool completely.
- Dice the pork belly into large chunks and place in a glass container that has a lid. Pour the brine over the pork belly and stir. Chill 12-24 hours. Stirring occasionally to make sure the pork belly is well soaked in brine. When ready to cook rinse the pork belly well and pat dry.
For the Hash:
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium and add the pork belly. Cook until starting to get crispy. Taste a piece and season with pepper and more salt and the remaining TBSP of maple syrup if desired. Transfer to a plate. Drain off all but 2 TBSP of the pork fat from the pan. Reserve the pork fat. Add the shallot and garlic and stir until fragrant. Add the shredded sweet potato and spread it out to cover the entire pan. Stir and flip the potatoes in sections to make sure it cooks evenly. If you find the potatoes sticking a little add a little of the reserved pork fat back into the pan. Once the potatoes are getting close to done, add the cooked pork belly into the pan and stir one to two minutes more. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired.
- While the hash is keeping warm, heat either butter, Ghee, coconut oil or pork fat in a separate pan and fry the eggs to your liking. Season the eggs with salt and pepper if desired. When the eggs are almost done divide the hash amongst 4 plates. Top each plate of hash with an egg.
- Serve hot with avocado slices or fresh fruit.
You can always use bacon or pulled pork in place of the pork belly if you don't have pork belly. Skip the brining process if you don't use pork belly.
Pork fat is a healthy fat (in my opinion) as long as you get high quality pork. If you want to use a different fat to cook the potatoes in use organic butter or ghee or coconut oil.
Frieda’s Produce sent me a small sample of their Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes to try. I was under no obligation to make a recipe for my blog with them but they are too good not to share. They also sent me a couple other fun, exotic fruits that I made recipes with and will be sharing those shortly as well. I am all for supporting companies that have the same beliefs in food as I do. Organic, Non-GMO, high quality. Frieda’s is one such company. So when I discover companies that fit my food beliefs I am more than happy to share on my site. Now if you will excuse me I have a couple bites left of my hash to eat.