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I’ve seen so many yummy recipes using Pork Belly however it’s one of those things I haven’t had any experience with.  I was shopping at Costco recently and came across a package of Pork Belly that was already sliced.  It looked almost like bacon but for the fact that it was cut into thick slabs.  I wasn’t sure what I could do with it since it was already cut but I thought why not give it a try.  One of my favorite pizza’s is a potato leek pizza that I usually make with bacon so I thought I would substitute the pork belly for the bacon and see how that turned out.  Pork belly tastes quite different, you don’t get the smoky salty flavors of bacon.  But I do think it goes quite well with this particular pizza, the tender chunks of pork belly matched with slices of fried potatoes, sauteed leeks and melted mozzarella make one savory slice of deliciousness.


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Pizza always starts with dough.  Here’s the recipe and instructions for my favorite dough. Once all the dough ingredients are mixed, place the dough in a warm place to rise.  Lay a kitchen towel over top.


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Here are two of the thick slabs of pork belly.


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Cut them into bite sized chunks.


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Drop them into a hot skillet and cook through.  They are thicker than bacon therefore they take a bit longer to cook through.


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Turn every couple minutes until they are tender throughout and browned on the outside. Remove the cooked pork belly to a warming plate lined with a paper towel and reserve any leftover drippings from the skillet.


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Slice 2 medium sized potatoes into thin slices.  Heat a skillet using any unused pork belly drippings and if needed add a drizzle of olive oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Place a single layer of potato slices into the hot skillet and fry until they are browned on both sides.


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Once you have the first batch done, add a drizzle of olive oil and fry the next batch of potato slices.


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Slice the leeks thin using only the white and light green pieces.  Rinse throroughly and run through a salad spinner or use paper towels to remove any excess water.


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Again, you can use the same skillet to saute the leeks.  Just add a drizzle of olive oil and toss until they become soft and wilting.


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They may even caramelize around the edges which always adds flavor.


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I don’t always have fresh herbs but when I do I like to make an infused olive oil blend to brush over the pizza dough.  This particular pizza tastes so good with rosemary, parsley and garlic.


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Chop the herbs and mince the garlic fine and mix with about 3 – 4 tablespoons of olive oil.


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Roll out the pizza dough then take a pastry brush and brush the infused olive oil with herbs all over the dough.


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Divide the cooked potato slices and arrange them on the pizza.


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Next comes a layer of fresh mozzarella slices.  You can use grated mozzarella as well, I just prefer the soft mozzarella that melts so gooey!


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Divide the cooked leeks and pork belly and arrange on the two pizza’s. Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt.


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Looks yummy already, but it still needs to bake.  Preheat your oven to 500 degrees and place a pizza stone, cast iron griddle or comal in the oven to heat.  The hotter the stone the better.  I have a 14 inch cast iron griddle and also a comal which I heat in the hot oven for at least 30 minutes to get them really hot.


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Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the dough is crisp and brown.


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I just love everything about this pizza.  It’s so savory layered with herbs and potatoes, topped with leeks and pork belly bites and all bound together with melted mozzarella.  The one thing I might try sometime is to crack some eggs on top before I bake it in the oven.  It would make for a yummy breakfast or brunch!


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Potato and Leek Pizza with Pork Belly

1 pound Pork Belly, cut into bite sized pieces
1 Leek, sliced thin (white and light green parts only)
2 Potatoes, sliced thin
8 ounces Fresh Mozzarella, sliced thin
3 – 4 tablespoons Olive Oil, plus more for cooking
Rosemary, Parsley and Garlic (best if fresh but can substitute dried herbs and garlic powder)
Salt to taste
Pizza Dough, recipe follows (makes two 14″ Pizza’s)

1 1/2 cups Water, lukewarm
2 1/4 teaspoons Rapid Rise Yeast
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 cups Bread Flour

To make the pizza dough:

In a large bowl or bowl of a standing mixer, combine water, yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil.  Let sit 5 – 10 minutes or until the yeast begins to expand and bubble.  Add the flour 1 cup at a time mixing after each addition.  Attach the dough hook if using a mixer and mix on low until the dough forms into a ball and the sides of the bowl are almost clean.  Prepare a large bowl with olive oil and place dough in to warm on top of the stove with the oven set low.  Cover with a dishtowel and let rise 30 – 45 minutes.  Dough will be ready when doubled in bulk.

**At this time preheat oven to 500 degrees and place pizza stone,  cast iron griddle or Mexican comal in oven to heat.

Cut pork belly into bite size pieces.  Place into a hot skillet and let cook until the pieces start to brown.  Toss the pieces in the skillet so they cook over all sides and begin to caramelize on the outer edges.  When they become tender and cooked through, remove and set aside on a warming plate lined with a paper towel.  Save any leftover drippings from the pork belly.

Slice 2 medium sized potatoes very thin.  Reheat the leftover pork belly drippings in the skillet and if needed add a drizzle of olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  Over medium high heat add the potatoes to the pan to make a single layer making sure not to overlap any slices. Brown the potatoes on both sides which will take only 3 – 4 minutes.  Drizzle olive oil and brown the next batch if needed.  Remove potatoes to a warming plate lined with a paper towel.

Slice the leeks thin and rinse to remove any grit and dirt.  Run leek pieces through a salad spinner or use paper towels to blot away any liquids.  Heat the skillet once again and saute the leeks until they are soft and translucent and just beginning to caramelize around the edges.

In a small bowl add 3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil with chopped herbs and minced garlic.  I added approximately 1 teaspoon each but use your own judgement and taste.

Prepare a work space, pizza peel or large cutting board.  Sprinkle generously with flour.  Remove dough and shape into a ball using the flour to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface.  Divide the dough in half and form into 2 round balls.  Roll out the dough until you have two  14 inch round discs, using flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your surface or rolling pin.

Sprinkle cornmeal on the peel or cutting board and place dough back onto the surface.  If needed make another roll or two with the rolling pin to reshape your pie.

To assemble pizza, brush olive oil with garlic and herbs mixture over the dough. Divide the cooked potato slices and assemble evenly over the dough.  Add layers of sliced fresh mozzarella, sauteed leeks and pork belly pieces.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and drizzle olive oil across pizza.

Gently slide pizza onto hot stone, comal or cast iron griddle.  Bake 10 – 12 minutes or until crust is browned and sounds hollow when tapped.

Makes two 14″ pizza’s

 

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