This is not your typical breakfast of eggs, potatoes and bacon. Instead, we’re talking about braised pork belly (the same cut that bacon comes from), sweet potatoes roasted with smoked paprika butter, and the runny yolk from a fried egg drenching the whole thing.
First, the pork belly. This is a cut of pork with a huge amount of flavor for a relatively low cost. Succulent and fatty, it’s one of the easiest cuts of pork to cook into mouth-watering tenderness. It takes several hours to braise pork belly, so plan to start this recipe the day before (and if you want more leftovers, plan to buy 3 pounds of pork belly, instead of 2).
Next, the sweet potatoes. They’re roasted whole, then sliced and roasted again with paprika-scented butter. Sweet, salty, smoky and delicious. The crowing glory of this feast is a fried egg on each plate, crispy around the edges and soft and runny in the middle.
Time in the Kitchen: 45 minutes, plus 3 hours to braise pork belly
2 pounds pork belly (either skin on, or off, is fine) (1 kg)
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 sprigs parsley
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (5 ml)
1 bay leaf
3 cups chicken stock, or enough to just barely cover the pork belly (700 ml)
2 large sweet potatoes or yams, scrubbed clean
1/4 cup salted butter, melted (60 g)
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (2.5 ml)
1 egg for each person
Preheat oven to 325 °F/163 °C.
Use the tip of sharp knife to cut a cross-hatch pattern through the layer of fat (and/or skin) on one side of the pork belly. Cut deep enough to score the fat or skin, but not all the way through to the flesh. Season with salt and pepper on both sides, rubbing the seasoning in with your hands. Cut the pork belly into two pieces.
In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown the pork belly, about 5 minutes per side (watch out for splattering fat when you flip it over.) Take the pork out of the pot and pour off most of the fat. Add onion, garlic and celery, sauté 3 to 5 minutes.
Put the pork back in the Dutch oven (fatty side up) and add the parsley, fennel seeds, bay leaf and stock.
Bring to a simmer. Cover and transfer to the oven. Braise the pork belly for 2 hours, remove lid, and braise 1 hour more.
When the pork belly goes into the oven, the sweet potatoes can also go in. Use a fork to poke holes in the sweet potatoes. Wrap each in foil, place on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven until very tender, about 1 hour. Unwrap from the foil and let cool.
Note: The pork belly and sweet potatoes can be cooked up to this point the day before making the dish. Cool both (remove the pork belly from the Dutch oven) then refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 450 °F/232 °C.
Slice each sweet potato into 1-inch/25 mm thick slices, spread out on a rimmed baking sheet.
Mix together melted butter and paprika. Brush each slice of sweet potato with the butter. Set any extra butter aside. Roast the sweet potato slices 20 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and brush with any remaining butter.
Turn the oven broiler on.
To reheat the pork belly, place in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook for just a few minutes, then put the pork belly under the broiler—not too close, about 8 inches away. Broil for about 2 minutes, until the top is browned and crisp. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
In a frying pan, fry an egg for each person.
On each plate, place several slices of sweet potato. Top with pork belly and a fried egg.