Recipe File: Braised Berkshire pork belly


Braised Berkshire pork belly and cooked beans with homemade butter, Red Fife bread and molasses 
Recipe by: Jesse Vergen, executive chef at St. John Ale House, Saint John, N.B.

Pork Belly


300 g Berkshire belly
to taste salt and pepper
90 g mirepox
75 ml rum
500 ml dark pork stock
4 sprigs fresh thyme
100 ml Crosby’s molasses


1. Cut pork belly into four portions, season with salt and pepper
2. Sear portions over medium-high heat, and add mirepox when caramelized
Deglaze with rum, then add dark pork stock, thyme and molasses
Season with salt and pepper
Cook in a 130°C (250°F) oven for three hours

Slow-baked beans


500 g Navy beans (soaked overnight in cold water)
80 ml Crosby’s molasses
50 ml brown sugar
250 ml onion (rough chopped)
125 g salt pork (or other bits of cured pork)
20 ml whole-grain mustard
4 ml salt


Build fire within stone oven or in a pit lined with large stones or baker tiles
Combine ingredients in caste-iron pot and cover with lid
As fire burns to embers, place pot in oven or on top of coals and cook, stirring occasionally
Beans will cook for 11 to 13 hours
Add water and salt as needed



1 L heavy or fresh cream (at room temperature)
4 g sea salt


1. Add cream to a butter churn (or food processor) and beat until butter separates from buttermilk
2. Drain butter, saving buttermilk
3. Rinse butter under cold water, knead butter with rubber or wood spatula and add salt
4. Keep at room temperature

Red Fife Bread



100 g Red Fife flour
45 g rye flour
500 ml warm water
50 g grapes (or apple peels) wrapped in cheese cloth


1. Clean large glass jar with boiling water
2. Mix all ingredients and leave them to sit at room temperature in glass jar for six days
3. Feed with 30 g of Red Fife flour and 50 ml of warm water on sixth day. The starter should be ready six hours after first feeding
4. Feed with equal weights of organic flour and warm water every few days to keep alive 



185 g starter
475 g Red Fife flour
414 g water (at room temperature)
11 g salt


1. Combine all ingredients, except salt, and let mix hydrate for 30 minutes
2. Add salt
3. Mix for four minutes, then place in a cold room (or refrigerator) overnight
4. The next day, knead the dough for two minutes, let it rise for two-and-a-half hours, then repeat kneading process and form dough into loaves
5. After the dough has risen, and the oven has reached 230°C (450°F), bake for 15 minutes, rotate dough and continue baking for 25 to 30 minutes
6. Check to see if the bread is done by knocking the bottom of the loaf; it should sound hallow



to taste beans
1 piece pork belly
to taste bread
to taste butter
15 g molasses
50 ml stinging nettle oil
to taste baby greens

Place beans and pork belly on plate
Drizzle braising liquid on pork
Cut bread into batons and place butter on plate, drizzle with molasses
Garnish plate with nettle oil and baby greens

Yield: Four servings

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.