Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Is Turkey Day, but I Prefer Pork

On Thursday Americans celebrated Thanksgiving Day, an observance that involves the mass consumption of turkey and other fixings. While turkey is enjoyed by one member of the Hamaker household, I deemed it unnecessary to spend the entire day thawing, prepping, roasting, and basting a large bird that only one of us will eat. We're not exactly traditional, given our past Thanksgiving feasts: In 2008 we made yakitori skewers; last year we ate our weight in beef at Gyu Kaku. This year, I made rafute, an Okinawan delicacy of glazed pork belly.

Pork belly (front) and neck bones
First, we went to our neighborhood Western Beef, which has a great selection of meat. We picked up a huge slab of pork belly and neck bones to boil in broth.

After boiling for an hour
Even though the meat looks a little gray after spending time boiling in water, it smells great. I know it will be delicious.

After glazing
Once the pork belly is mixed in a skillet with soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar, it takes on a nice glaze. This is what bacon should be like, except our cholesterol levels would rise exponentially. However, this makes me wonder what rafute would taste like with scrambled eggs . . .

Raftute and Okinawan soba
When it tops off a giant bowl of Okinawan soba with kamaboko (fish cake) and scallions as a garnish, rafute makes a delightful – if not traditional – Thanksgiving meal.

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