Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

Benvenuti nel mio mondo - un mischio di passione, gusto e vecchie tradizioni.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

CIFF E CIAFF - Braised Pork Belly with Garlic and Olives

The pig has sustained the Italian population for centuries with salumi and prosciutti.  Pork is in fact universally recognized as the "King of the table."  Pork was and continues to be a forever-present meat staple in the Abruzzese kitchen.  So important in fact, that the Pig Museum (Il Museo del maiale) opened in Carpineto Sinello, Abruzzo. 

CIFF e CIAFF is a characteristic dish usually served during the killing ritual of the pig.  The dish utilizes the”guanciale" or the “cheek” portion of the pig between the head and the shoulder.  Guanciale is similar to bacon in composition.

Pork ciff e ciaff  with broccoli di rape
All photos - Copyright - ©2011 - La Casa e Il Giardino - picasaweb

Keeping with the tradition, I still make this dish but instead of guanciale I prefer using pork belly.

Ingredients - 4 persons

2 lb. pork belly with skin
4 tablespoons of olive oil
8 whole garlic cloves with skin on
1/2 cup cured olives
8 dry red chilies
Salt and pepper


Cut pork belly into cubes about 1" in size.  Add salt and pepper.  In a hot, cast iron skillet, add the oil and meat.  Cook over medium heat about 15 minutes.  Cover and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes.  Uncover.  Crack the whole garlic cloves and add to meat. Cook until garlic is tender and brown.  Add the olives and dry red peppers and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.  The meat should be brown and crisp.  Serve with broccoli di rape or any other greens.
As you can see, pork is KING on our table.


  1. I LOVE pork belly....this may well be on table at my house this weekend!

    Thanks for the great blog.



  2. James- Again, thank you for commenting. We also love pork belly or pork of any kind. I try to cook it several times a year during the winter months. At my age, I try not to overdue with fatty meats.

  3. I was wondering if you could share how you did your broccolini in the picture?!
    Thanks in advance!

  4. Thank you for asking.
    Trim the broccoli and wash. In a pot of boiling water, add salt and broccoli. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain. In a large pan, add 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic chopped and cook until golden. Add 1 chopped, dry red hot pepper (optional) or red pepper flakes. Add blanched broccoli, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes until broccoli are tender and serve.