Pork Belly with Tomatillo, Black Eyed Peas and Shiitake Mushrooms on StatChefs.com

Photo Credit: StarChefs.com

James Richardson
11628 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 207-5160

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James Richardson
NOOK | Los Angeles

James Richardson was a 21-year old English major in Tampa, Florida, working in a kitchen to put himself through school, when he was asked to fill in for the chef one day. That day sealed Richardson’s fate and changed his focus to becoming a chef. In 1997, his first mentor, Chef Jeannie Pierola, promoted him from line cook to sous chef at Boca. Richardson ventured out on his own a year later, where at Atomic Café, he learned the ups and downs of running his own kitchen. Heading out to Los Angeles in 2001 for a fresh start, Richardson began anew, working his way from line cook to co-executive chef. While working at Bergamot Café, he and his colleagues conceived of the idea for Nook Bistro, where Richardson is now part owner and executive chef. At Nook, his streamlined American fare reflects a masterful sense of texture and color, incorporating a variety of unusual grains and boldly flavored produce.


Kurobuta Pork Belly with Tomatillo, Black Eyed Peas and Shiitake Mushrooms
Chef James Richardson of Nook - Los Angeles, CA
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Yield: 14 Servings


    Pork Belly and Coriander Cure:
  • ¼ cup fennel seeds
  • ¼ cup cumin seeds
  • ½ cup coriander seeds
  • ¼ cup black peppercorns
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Kurobuta pork belly (approximately 12 pounds)
  • Chicken stock, to cover 3/4

    Tomatillo Sauce:
  • 1 pound tomatillos, cut into quarters
  • 2 jalapeños, roughly chopped
  • ½ yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 bunches cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

    Black Eyed Peas and Shiitake Salad:
  • 2½ cups dry black eyed peas
  • 4 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 6 lemons (preferably Meyer lemons when in season)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil, for frying
  • 1 pound shiitakes
  • 1 red onion, shaved


For Pork Belly and Coriander Cure:
Grind all whole spices in a spice grinder and mix with the rest. (Mixture can be prepared ahead and stored in a tightly covered container.)

Coat belly generously with cure mix, cover and refrigerate for 3 days. Scrape excess spices off of belly with a knife.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place belly in a large roasting pan and cover ¾ of the way with chicken stock. Cover with foil and roast until fork-tender, about 5 hours. Remove from oven and cool completely. Cut pork into approximately 14 squares.

For Tomatillo Sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree.

For Black Eyed Peas and Shiitake Salad:
Pick over the peas and rinse well. Soak in cold water overnight. Cover peas with water in a pot and bring up to a boil. Season with salt. Cover tightly and simmer slowly until peas are tender. Strain, cool and reserve.

Whisk olive oil into lemon juice to make a simple vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a deep pan to 300°F. Slice shiitakes very thin and fry until crisp. Drain on paper towels and reserve.

To Assemble and Serve:
Place 1 portion of belly in a sauté pan, fat side down and brown lightly. Place in a hot oven until hot and crispy. While the belly cooks, toss the black eyed peas, shaved red onion and shiitakes with lemon vinaigrette. Pour 2 ounces of tomatillo sauce in the center of a plate. Place belly in center, fat side up. Top with black eyed pea and shiitake salad.

Wine Pairings:

Cabernet Sauvignon, Vineyard 7, Spring Mountain, California, 2002
Chardonnay, Vineyard 8, Spring Mountain, California, 2002


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   Published: May 2006