Slow-roasted belly stands in for the classic whole suckling pig that graces virtually every special occasion in the Philippines. Chef Dale Talde also swaps out the sauce's pungent pork liver for more mellow and easier to source chicken livers. Don't worry, though. It still tastes, as Talde lovingly puts it, like “liverwurst mixed with sweet and sour sauce.”
- 1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 3 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 7 garlic cloves
- 3 lemongrass stalks, roughly chopped
- 2 bunches scallions, trimmed
- 1 5-lb. piece skin-on pork belly, skin scored in a crosshatch pattern
- 1 lb. chicken livers
- 1⁄4 cup plus 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3⁄4 cup white vinegar
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp. bread crumbs
Heat oven to 325°. Combine 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 4 garlic cloves, the lemongrass, and 1 bunch scallions in a food processor; purée until smooth. Rub mixture over pork belly and place in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; roast for 3 1⁄2 hours. Increase temperature to 550° and continue cooking until the skin is crispy, 20 minutes more.
Meanwhile, purée the chicken livers until smooth. Roughly chop remaining garlic; heat 1⁄4 cup oil in a medium saucepan and cook garlic and onion until golden, about 12 minutes. Add liver and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar and cook 5 minutes more. Add the remaining salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper, plus the bread crumbs, and cook 2–3 minutes. Transfer to a blender and purée until smooth. Keep “lechon” sauce warm.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high. Toss remaining scallions with remaining oil; grill until charred, 6–8 minutes.
Transfer pork to a platter and serve with “lechon” sauce and grilled scallions.