We butchered one of our Mangalitsas in January with our buddy Zeph from Proletariat Butchery. Instead of having Zeph cure the belly for bacon, I chose to keep a hunk of it in the freezer. I've never prepared pork belly before, but I've had the good fortune of enjoying it while dining out. It had been sitting there on the second to top shelf in the freezer, staring at me every time I get my kids a popsicle, which is currently 47 times per day.
I was paranoid about it getting freezer burned and I know just how delicious the creamy fat is from our pigs, so I started taking it out and slicing it up. Before I knew it I was taking shaved pieces of Mangalitsa belly and frying them to add to eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and the kid's quesadillas. One thing let to another and I came up with these little morsels of fatty goodness.
Mangalitsa Belly Paleo Croutons
4 oz. Mangalitsa Pork Belly
1/2 tsp Salt (Hawaiian Alaea Pink Salt shown in photo)
1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Take belly out of freezer. Place on cutting board with sharp knife (shown is from Carter Cutlery). Set oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees.
Remove the skin from your piece of belly (save it for later!) and cut into 1/4" to 1/2" cubes. Season with salt, pepper, and any other herbs or seasonings of your choice. Toss to coat. Spread belly on cookie sheet on a single layer and bake, stirring after 10 minutes. Return to oven for 10 more minutes or until light brown and crisp. Place croutons on a paper towel lined plate until cool. Garnish salads, eggs, veggies, or anything else with these crispy bits of pork heaven. Keep leftover croutons (if there are any) in the fridge for a few days.