Highly respected Atlanta chef and season six Top Chef Fan Favorite Kevin Gillespie shares his unbounded passion for pork in 100 unique recipes with global flavors. Everything you need to know about selecting, cooking, and enoying pork is included within.
On Bravo TV’s season six of Top Chef, Kevin Gillespie became known for his love of pork. He literally wears it on his sleeve with his forearm tatoo. His first book, Fire in My Belly, a James Beard Award finalist, included his famous Bacon Jam. Now he shares his passion and love of pork in a book devoted entirely to the subject. Pure Pork Awesomeness celebrates pork’s delicious versatility with more than 100 easy-to-follow recipes. Dig into everything from Bacon Popcorn and Bourbon Street Pork Chops to Korean Barbecued Pork Bulgogi, Vietnamese Spareribs with Chile and Lemongrass, and Banoffee Trifle with Candied Bacon. Organized like the pig itself, recipes use every cut of pork from shoulder and tenderloin to pork belly and ham. Find out how to buy the best-tasting pork available, differences among heritage breeds of pigs, and what to do with new cuts like “ribeye of pork”. . . all from a witty, talented chef who knows the ins and outs of cooking pork at home.
BANOFFEE TRIFLE WITH CANDIED BACON
FEEDS 6 TO 8
My restaurant Gunshow has no investors. To raise money I did a series of fundraising dinners all over the country. I customized the menu for each group—except for dessert. I’m not much of a pastry chef, so I stuck with my slam-dunk combo of bananas, toffee, and candied bacon. I made it several different ways. At first, I plated it as a deconstructed modernist dessert. Then in Seattle I served a much bigger group of folks and the modernist plating turned out to be too time-consuming. Out of sheer necessity, I made it into a trifle, and that’s what made the dish even more successful. It’s a layered dessert of vanilla custard, Candied Bacon (page 139), crushed shortbread cookies, fried bananas, toffee caramel, and chocolate ganache. You can totally make this at home. The layering makes it look awesome in a glass dish. Serve it with coffee and your friends will think you’re badass.
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream, divided
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Canola oil for frying
5 ounces 65% chocolate, chopped
12 ounces shortbread cookies
2 cups vanilla custard or pudding (see Good to Know)
16 strips Candied Bacon (page 139), chopped, 2 pieces reserved for garnish
To make the caramel, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and stir in ¾ cup of the cream. Return to a boil and decrease the heat to a low simmer. Simmer, swirling occasionally, until the mixture reaches 235°F, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla.
Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 350°F.
Peel the bananas and fry until deep golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to cool.
Heat the remaining ¼ cup cream in a small saucepan just to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted.
Place the cookies in a large zip-top bag, squeeze out any excess air, and roll with a rolling pin a few times to make very coarse crumbs; you should have about 3 cups.
You can make one large trifle bowl or individual servings in 8-ounce canning jars. To assemble, layer one-third of the cookie crumbs, half the custard, half the bacon, half the fried bananas, half the caramel, and the chocolate; continue layering on the remaining custard, bacon, bananas, and one-third of the crumbs; top with the remaining caramel and crumbs. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Cut the reserved bacon into long strips and garnish each serving with a strip.
Good to Know: You can replace the chocolate with ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips.
Use your favorite vanilla custard or pudding here; store-bought will work but homemade is better.
From Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World by Kevin Gillespie with David Joachim, Andrews McMeel Publishing. Photo: Angie Mosier