Chef Mike Brewer is cooking up new and exciting menu items at City Pork.
Brewer became the corporate executive chef of the restaurant group (which houses the deli at 2363 Hollydale Ave. and the brasserie at 7327 Jefferson Highway) in October. With him, he brought culinary experience that dates all the way back to the late ’90s.
Brewer moved to New Orleans in 1999 to work at an engineering firm. However, by 2002, he left his job and returned to the hospitality industry, working his way up the ladder at crescent city restaurants such as Brennan's and Commander's Palace.
In the kitchen, he pulls from his engineering and culinary backgrounds to create unique dishes. He's unafraid to try something new and put his own twist on Louisiana staples. Now with City Pork, he's pulling from nearby Cajun and Creole flavors and fusing that with a pork-centric menu.
For this edition of Let’s Dish, Brewer shows how he creates the Baton Rouge restaurant's Three Little Pigs, an entree that uses pork in three ways served over lentils and with a sweet potato puree.
Before you start: Prep your pork belly a day in advance. Season liberally with Tony Chachere's. Place in a deep pan and add enough water to come up halfway on the belly. Cover with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil and bake at 275°F for 4 hours. Remove the belly from the pan and refrigerate overnight.
Step 1: The pork belly is sliced into 2-inch cubes and seared in a skillet until golden brown and hot throughout.
Step 2: Season pork tenderloin with salt and pepper and grill until medium-rare. The pork is then removed to rest for 5 minutes before being sliced.
Step 3: As the tenderloin is cooking, lentils are prepared with crispy bacon, diced onions and chicken stock. First sauté the bacon, then the onions (until translucent), then add stock and lower heat. Cook lentils until tender, for about 30 minutes.
Step 4: Concurrently, the sweet potato puree is prepped. For the puree, peel and dice sweet potatoes, boil them in salted water until tender and strain. Mash the potatoes and add salt, pepper and butter.
Step 5: Iverstine Farms' veal demi glacé is heated with local hog head cheese added for flavor.
Step 6: Plating begins with a scoop of lentils in the middle, surrounded by smaller scoops of the sweet potato puree. The tenderloin is then sliced and plated on the other corners, with the pork belly in the middle. The demi glacé is then poured over the pork belly. The plate is finished with a microgreen garnish.