Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Kendall College students win Port-inspired
culinary competition

Tracey Torres, 21, and Jeremy Fisher, 27, both of Chicago, were the winners of the recent Cockburn's Culinary Competition, which challenged Kendall College culinary arts students 21 years of age or older to create innovative recipes and pairings incorporating Cockburn's Special Reserve Port. Runners-up included the team of Taleia Monty and Kristin Moore, of Chicago, and the team of Amy Dannenberger and Aaron Haas, of Chicago and Schaumburg, Ill., respectively.

For their winning recipe—an original twist on traditional Portuguese cuisine, featuring crispy braised pork belly, migas and black beluga lentils, complemented by frisée salad tossed in a Cockburn's Special Reserve vinaigrette—Torres and Fisher were awarded a four-day, five-night educational tour of Cockburn's winery in the prominent Douro Valley in Northern Portugal.

Entries were judged based on several factors, including overall taste, presentation, inventiveness and the original use of Cockburn's Special Reserve. The distinguished panel of judges included some of Kendall College's most distinguished alumni, including: Shawn McClain (Owner and Chef, Spring, Green Zebra and Custom House), Christopher Koetke (Dean, Kendall College), Angela Roman (Wine Director, The Signature Room), Stephanie Izard (2008 Winner, Bravo TV's "Top Chef").

Winning Recipe:
Crispy Braised Pork Belly, Migas, Black Beluga Lentils and Frisée Salad in a Cockburn's Special Reserve Vinaigrette
Tracey Torres and Jeremy Fisher, Kendall College

3 lbs. pork belly
2 c. quince, cored and large-diced
2 c. Spanish onions, sliced
Olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
4 c. brown stock
Migas (recipe follows)
Black Beluga Lentil Puree (recipe follows)
Frisée Salad with Cockburn's Special Reserve Vinaigrette

Method (1) Preheat oven to 375°F; score pork belly fat, 1/4 inch lines across. (2) Place quince and onions in bottom of roasting pan, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. (3) Once fat turns golden, turn oven down to 350°F; pour brown stock in bottom of roasting pan. (4) Roast pork belly for another 2-3 hours or until tender. (5) Remove pork belly; set aside. (6) Take the reserved liquid, and reduce it in saucepan until it coats the back of a spoon.

1 loaf country-style sourdough, preferably day-old
1 c. uncooked linguisa sausage (Portuguese-style sausage, can substitute chorizo)
1/2 c. pancetta, small-diced
3/4 c. pomegranate seeds
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Method (1) Cut crusts off sourdough, and medium dice. Sprinkle water over day-old bread until just damp; set aside. (2) In sauté pan, sauté pancetta and the linguisa out of casing; sauté until rendered down. (3) Drain meat, saving fat; set aside. (4) In sauté pan, heat 2 T. olive oil and 1 T. of reserved fat; sauté bread until crisp. (5) Add linguisa and pancetta; toss in pomegranate seeds, season; serve immediately.

Black Beluga Lentil Puree
1 c. black beluga lentils (pre-soaked in water overnight)
1/2 c. onion, large-diced
1/2 c. carrot, large-diced
1/2 c. celery, large-diced

Method (1) In large pot, sauté vegetables until slightly caramelized. (2) Add lentils and cover with water. (3) Cook for 30 minutes or until soft. (4) Drain lentils and puree in a blender, season with salt and pepper. If needed, use reserved liquid to smooth out the lentils.

For assembly: (1) Place lentil puree on right center of plate. (2) Spoon portion of pork belly sauce onto left center of plate. Cut 5 oz. portion of pork belly; lay on sauce. (3) Arrange a portion of the salad in the center. (4) Lay migas on top of pork belly; let fall off the side to the right onto the lentils. (5) Finish with pork belly sauce to taste. Serve immediately.