Pork Belly and Preserved Lemon Stew

Pork Belly and Preserved Lemon Stew

With six inches of snow on the ground outside, I decided to get stewing season off to a start with an idea I’ve had simmering since I made a batch of preserved meyer lemons last winter. The fermentation brings out an earthy almost meaty flavor while retaining the lemon’s refreshing tartness. I’ve been dreaming of stewing these with pork belly, but have been waiting for sub-zero temperatures that could (in my mind) justify all that fat. This morning I got my wish, with bright white flurries twirling massive clumps of snow past my windows.

After donning snow boots and trudging to my butcher, I came home famished, ready to eat what I’d planned to simmer for hours. That’s about when the concept got simplified, and the pressure cooker came out of the cupboard.

Although I’d only planned to stew the pork belly, opening the pressure cooker and tasting the sauce changed my mind. It was delicious and begged to have something added that would soak up all the flavors in the sauce. Three potatoes and 10 minutes later, I had what might very well be the best stew I’ve ever made.

With big hunks of pork belly simmered in caramelized aromatics, white wine and tomatoes, this dish has epic umami. It’s one of those dishes that requires relatively few ingredients and very little effort to make and yet it tastes like you spent a whole day making it.

The preserved lemons add citrus notes, but thanks to the fermentation, they’re more robust and earthy than bright and fruity. The tartness helps cut through the richness of the pork giving this dish a lighter feel than the cut of meat implies. But the best part is the sauce and potatoes. Cooked until they’re practically melting into each other, the potatoes absorb all the flavor in the sauce, while the sauce gains body that allows it to cloak the meat in a thick layer of flavor.

While some dishes work better with fattier pork bellies, this one works best with pork belly that’s about 20% fat and 80% meat. If you want a slightly less ridiculous version, try making this with pork shoulder, or even chicken legs, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Equipment you'll need:

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    Pork Belly and Preserved Lemon Stew
  • Pork belly simmered in tomatoes and preserved lemons until fall-apart tender.
Prep TimeCook Time
5 minutes 45 minutes


  • 450 grams pork belly
  • 24 grams ginger - fresh (~1-inch) grated
  • 12 grams garlic (~3 cloves) grated
  • 150 grams onion (~1 medium onion) sliced thin
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 400 grams whole stewed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons preserved lemons roughly chopped
  • 400 grams potatoes cut into large chunks
  • flat leaf parsley for garnish


  1. Cut the pork belly into 2-inch cubes. Heat a pressure cooker over medium-high heat until hot. Add the pork belly fat-side down and allow it to brown before flipping over and browning the second side. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and saute until browned and very fragrant. It will stick to the bottom of the pan, which is desirable, but be sure not to let it get black.
  3. Add the onions and saute until they are translucent and starting to brown.
  4. Add the white wine, and bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add the tomato puree, brown sugar, soy sauce, salt pepper and preserved lemons.
  6. Put the lid on the pressure cooker, lock it into place and set the pressure to high. Let the pressure cooker come up to full pressure (steady whistle) over high heat, and then adjust the temperature down until the cooker barely maintains a constant whistle. Cook for 20 minutes. If you are using a regular pot, cook loosely covered with a lid for 1 hour.
  7. Put the pressure cooker in the sink and run cold water over the lid until the pressure releases. Once you're sure the pressure has released, open the lid and add the potatoes.
  8. Close the lid and place on the pressure cooker on the stove over high heat until you hear a steady whistle again. Adjust down the heat until the cooker barely maintains a constant whistle. Cook for 10 minutes. If you are using a regular pot, just cook until the potatoes are tender.
  9. Put the pressure cooker in the sink and run cold water over the lid until the pressure releases. Open the lid and serve, garnished with chopped parsley.
  • Bob Lotti

    Fantastic looking recipe! I’m going to make it this coming weekend. Looks like it will be delicious served over a nice, Parmesan cheesy, polenta and accompanied by garlicky, sauteed Brussels sprouts. I wonder if daikon radish can be substituted for the potatoes?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Bob, sounds like a decadent meal! Daikon definitely work if you’r looking to reduce the carbs in the dish.

  • http://www.noshon.it/ Vijay – Editor @ NoshOn.It

    Oh man, Marc. This sounds amazing.

    • http://www.noshon.it/ Vijay – Editor @ NoshOn.It

      One question – it looks like you’ve left the skin on the pork belly. I typically remove it but do you have a preference?

      • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

        Hi Vijay, there’s actually no skin on it. It does look like it in one of the shots, but that’s just a layer of fat that’s been browned. Hope that helps.

        • http://www.noshon.it/ Vijay – Editor @ NoshOn.It

          Great, thanks Marc, now I see that! I just ordered a new dutch oven and once that comes in next week, we’re definitely making this! Used to have some preserved meyer lemons I made that had to be thrown out when I moved but I found a place locally that has them (just regular preserved lemons).

  • sipa

    I don’t own a pressure cooker what are your suggestions for making this without one?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Sipa, there are instructions for cooking without a pressure cooker in the recipe. You just need to extend the cooking times. Typically each step takes 4x longer.

  • Medha

    Anything with preserved meyer lemon – I am in! Specially where pork belly is involve too:) Seems like this combination is made in heaven! Brilliant! Love your photography and blog too! Beautiful place.

  • JME

    Omg! I love this absolutely and I used to think only the German does pork dishes well. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  • Sam

    Looks amazing! Can this be made in a crock pot?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Thanks Sam, you’ll need to do the browning steps in a different pot over a stove because a crockpot does not get hot enough, but you could do steps 6-8 in a crock pot.

  • Erin Amirian -Patterson

    Excellent use of pork belly! Very delicious! LOVE it


I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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