Skip to main content

Torched Chashu (Japanese Braised Pork Belly) + Donkey & Goat's 2017 The Bear #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Donkey & Goat Winery.* 
All opinions are my own.

Last year I worked with Jared and Tracey Brandt, of Donkey and Goat Winery*, to create a pairing for some of their new releases in the Spring. I tested a Shrimp and Clam Paella and Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons, Roasted Peppers, and Olives both to pair with their Grenache Blanc Skins. But, in the end, the recipe I shared with the Brandts that they, in turn, shared with their wine club members was my Petrale Sole, Fennel, and Potato Gratin.

So, when Jared emailed me again about collaborating with them on this year's Fall releases, I was in. Immediately. Tomorrow the Brandts and the Donkey and Goat team host their Fall release party. And though I can't be up there, I am sharing a recipe I created for their 2017 The Bear.

Torched Chashu 
Japanese Braised Pork Belly / serves 10 to 12

After reading notes on the 2016 The Bear, I emailed Jared and Erin Callahan: "Reading notes on the 2016 The Bear, I was intrigued by the salinity and black tea mention which brought me down the Asian cuisine road. Any thoughts on how the 2017 would pair with soy sauce??" Erin responded that one of her coworkers recommends a soy sauce that she makes with pork belly and taro. Intriguing!

When I received the wines, I tested them with two to three recipes each. This one was a hands down favorite. Though it does take some planning, it's not difficult. You just need to braise the pork belly the night before you plan to serve it.


  • 3½ lb pork belly block
  • 2 T Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese Seven Spice, available at Oaktown Spice Shop's East Bay locations or online), divided
  • 2 Spring onions or 1 leek, trimmed and thickly sliced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1" knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 C sake
  • 1 C soy sauce
  • 2 C water
  • ¼ C maple syrup
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • 2 t sesame oil
  • Also needed: 100% cotton twine, Dutch oven or other heavy lidded pot, culinary torch** (optional)

  • rice 
  • assortment of pickles or fermented sides

**I used the torch at the table because that always brings a smile to my family's faces. But you can just as easily char the pork belly under the broiler before serving.

Place the pork belly, rind side down, on a work space. Sprinkle the top with 1 T Shichimi Togarashi.
Roll the pork belly into a cylinder, with the ends showing the varying layers of meat and fat.

Run some cotton twine to secure the pork into its cylindrical shape. Rub the remaining 1 T Shichimi Togarashi on the outside of the roll.

Heat the oil in your pan (I used a Dutch oven). Add the rolled pork belly to the pan. Sear the pork belly on all sides and the ends. It should take about 12 to 15 minutes to go all the way around.

Add in the aromatics - Spring onion or leek, garlic, and ginger - and pour in the sake, soy sauce, water, rice wine vinegar, maple syrup, and sesame oil. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cover.

Let the pork belly braise for 3 hours, turning the roll every half hour or so. After 3 hours, the pork should be a deep mahogany color and the liquid reduced. Let the meat cool slightly before handling it. Once the meat is slightly cooled, transfer it to a lidded container and pour the sauce over the top. Let the meat rest, in its cooking sauce, overnight.

After the meat has rested overnight, you can scoop out the solidified fat from the cooking sauce and discard it. Reserve the sauce for future uses. It's a great addition to stir-fries and marinades. Or you can use it as a dipping sauce for the Chashu.

Cut the twine with kitchen shears and untie the roll. Slice the Chashu into ¼" slices.

Place the Chashu slices on baking sheet and broil them. 

Or, as we did, use a culinary torch at the table. There's something about fire that always makes my husband and our boys grin from ear to ear. Maybe it hails back to caveman days. Hilarious. In any case, use the torch to char the fat and give the slice a nice burnished look.

I served this with steamed rice and an assortment of pickles or fermented dishes, including two kind of kimchi, pickled quail eggs, and a seaweed salad.

Tasting Thoughts

In the end, the Torched Chashu didn't retain any flavors that were definitively soy. In fact, all three of my boys said, "What soy sauce?" when I commented that I picked this dish because I thought the wine would pair nicely with a soy sauce-based dish. All of the flavors must have blended together in what My Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf correctly identified as, "Umami!"

Donkey & Goat's 2017 The Bear is a multi-varietal blend from the Fenaughty & Lightner vineyards at 2800’ elevation in the El Dorado appellation. On the nose, we got strong perfume of summer berries. Think sun-kissed olallieberries and strawberries. But on the tongue, that sweetness was almost unnoticeable. Spice notes were prevalent, but it was the wine's bracing acidity that made this a homerun with the pork belly. That same tannic mouthfeel you get from a strongly brewed black tea complemented and cut through the pork belly fat beautifully.

You may find Donkey & Goat...
on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram

*Disclosure: I received complimentary product for the purpose of recipe development. 
This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.*


Popular posts from this blog

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

Aloo Tiki {Pakistan}

To start off our Pakistani culinary adventure, I started us off with aloo tiki - potato cutlets. I'm always game for tasty street food. I found a couple of different recipes and incorporated those together for this version. Ingredients 6-8 small red potatoes, scrubbed 1 T cumin seeds 1 T fresh chopped parsley 1/2 t ground coriander 1 t minced garlic Procedure Boil the potatoes until they are tender. Drain and let cool. Mash the potatoes. Traditionally they are mashed without their skins. I left the skins on. In a small pan, toast the cumin seeds on high heat until the begin to give off an aroma and begin to darken. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate to keep them from cooking any more. Blend all of the spices into the mashed potatoes, then shape into small patties. If you wet your hands, the potato mixture won't stick to them. Heat a splash of oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Dip each patty into beaten egg and carefully place in the oil. P

Hot Chocolate Agasajo-Style {Spice It Up!}

photo by D For my Spice It Up! kiddos this week, I was looking for an exotic drink to serve while we learned about saffron. I found a recipe from food historian Maricel Presilla that mimicked traditional Spanish hot chocolate from the 17th century where it was served at lavish receptions called agasajos . When I teach, I don't always get to shoot photos. Thankfully, D grabbed my camera and snapped a few. Ingredients serves 14-16 1 gallon organic whole milk 3 T dried rosebuds - or 2 t rosewater 2 t saffron threads, lightly crushed 3 T ground cinnamon 3 whole tepin chiles, crushed 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate Procedure In a large soup pot that can hold a gallon plus, combine milk, dried rosebuds (or rosewater, if you are using that), saffron threads, ground cinnamon, chiles, vanilla beans, and sugar and warm over medium heat till it steams. Whisk to dissolve sugar, then lower heat an