Capital Chefs: Mike Isabella of Graffiato (Part 2)

Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Mike Isabella’s Pork and Beans
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie

Pork belly, the stuff of Gods. And if you’ve had the delectable version at Graffiato, you know exactly what I’m talking about–melt in your mouth pork with that nice seared, caramelized outer edge, complimented by a roughly pureed bed of cannelini beans. Chef Mike Isabella shared the recipe with me in the most recent Capital Chefs which you can find after the jump. On a cold winter’s day, this dish is perfect.

Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Mike Isabella’s Pork and Beans
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie

Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Slicing Pork Belly
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie

Pork and Beans (Pork Belly with White Beans, Country Ham)
Serves 4

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/4 pounds pork belly; skin removed
1 cup small diced onion
1/2 cup small diced celery
1/2 cup small diced carrot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 quart chicken broth
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon lard
1/4 cup finely chopped country ham
1 can white beans (15 ounce); drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Heat canola oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, sear the pork belly for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
3. Reduce the heat to medium then add onions, celery, carrot and garlic. Sweat for 3-4 minutes or until soft and translucent.
4. Add chicken broth and bring to a slight boil. Add the pork belly to the pot, cover and place in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Check after 2 hours and every 30 minutes after until tender and succulent.
5. Meanwhile, heat the lard in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once melted and bubbly, add country ham and cook for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add white beans and salt. Cook for 10 minutes until soft and tender. The beans will begin to break down and incorporate with the lard. Stir until a chunky puree forms. Remove from heat and let set at room temperature.
6. Remove pork belly from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes in the liquid. Remove from liquid and cut into 4 equal portions.
7. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon lard in a large sauté pan. Once hot and bubbly, sear the pork belly for 3 minutes on top and bottom until golden brown and crispy.
8. Reheat the beans and spread on a large serving dish. Arrange the pork belly on top and serve.

Photo courtesy of bonappetitfoodie
Mike Isabella Prepping Pork and Beans
courtesy of bonappetitfoodie

Marissa was born and bred in New Jersey, but moved to DC for undergrad at GWU (Go Colonials, go!), fell in love with the District and learned that there was life and civilization beyond New York City. She loves eating at white-tablecloth-three-forks-at-your-place-setting restaurants, but she’ll also be the first to suggest we scarf down some chili dogs at 2 am. Simply put, she loves all things food. You can also read about why she loves DC. Follow her on Twitter and email her at mbialecki (at)

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