Apple Cider Braised Pork Belly Crostini


Courtesy of Chef Joe Gianvecchio of Sapori Café & Catering

This delicious recipe was provided by Chef Joe Gianvecchio of Sapori Café & Catering located in Rochester, NY.

  • Yields
    10 Servings
  • Prep Time
    30 mins
  • Cook Time
    4 hours, 00 mins
  • Total Time
    4 hours, 30 mins


  • 6 New York state apples
  • 1 gallon(s) New York state apple cider
  • 1/4 slab raw pork belly
  • 4 ounce(s) chopped raw apple wood smoked bacon
  • 1 ounce(s) fresh baked French baguette
  • 3-4 cup(s) baby arugula
  • 6-8 ounce(s) triple creme brie
  • 4 ounce(s) gorgonzola
  • 4 ounce(s) shaved asiago
  • 1 ounce(s) white onion
  • 2 ounce(s) balsamic vinaigrette
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 ounce(s) brandy
  • 32 ounce(s) chicken stock
  • 2 ounce(s) NY maple syrup
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly milled black peppercorn
  • Adobo seasoning


  1. Coat the 1/4 slab of raw pork belly with extra virgin olive oil, liberal amount of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  2. In a rondeau pot, heat extra virgin olive oil just until before smoke point.
  3. Sear pork belly slab on both sides until the fat is rendered down and skin is charred and crisp.
  4. Place pork belly in roasting pan and pour in the braising liquid mixture of the apple cider, the chicken stock, a coating of extra virgin olive oil, a splash of brandy, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
  5. Once belly is coated with all the liquids and is half submerged in the roasting pan, dry rub the exposed (skin side up) part of the belly with more kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, brown sugar, a dusting of ground cinnamon and Adobo seasoning.
  6. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and finish in the convection oven at 275-300 degrees for 3.5-4 hours or until belly is tender and can cut easily with a fork.
  7. For the caramelized apple, onion and maple applewood-smoked bacon jam: Get sauté pan hot with extra virgin olive oil.
  8. Toss in the chopped applewood-smoked bacon and render down fat until just before the bacon begins to crisp up. Then add in the 1/2 cup of small diced white onion and sauté until onions begin to caramelize.
  9. Throw in the peeled/small diced NYS apple and sauté until caramelized with the onions and bacon.
  10. Lastly for the jam: fold in and melt 2-4oz of the crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and season with kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and brown sugar to taste, and a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg.
  11. Deglaze the pan with the splash of brandy (about 4oz.) And add in a drizzle of the NY Maple Syrup.
  12. Allow to sauté until all ingredients are caramelized into a delicious jam.
  13. Prepare the crostini next by cutting the freshly-baked French baguette into even 3/4-inch slices on a bias.
  14. Place sliced baguette on a baking sheet and lightly brush both sides with extra vigin olive oil and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
  15. Bake crostini at 350 degrees for 10 minutes and allow to cool for a few minutes before topping it.
  16. Top crostini with a spread of the triple creme Brie, then the prepared honey-crisp apple, onion and bacon jam.
  17. Layer the crostini with the finished tender pork belly that has been braising for about 4 hours, sliced to size and then finished on the cast-iron grill to get a nice char and caramelization with the sweet/rich glaze made from the braising liquid.
  18. Lastly, top the crostini off with a nice vibrant tossed baby arugula salad, made with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic-vinaigrette dressing, shaved Asiago and a pinch of kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.