Today is another article in our series on James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Local Dish, where six Charlottesville area restaurants are joining other top spots around the country in creating a dish for their September and October menus that conveys their local cuisine. One dollar from the sale of each local dish will go towards the educational efforts of the James Beard Foundation. Next up is Brookville, owned by chef Harrison Keevil and his wife, Jennifer.
Keevil’s Local Dish is Slow Roasted Pork Belly with apple compote, cilantro, jalapeno, and peanuts ($25). The pork belly is from Timbercreek Organics, the apple and jalapeno are from the Local Food Hub, and the cilantro is from Manakintowne Specialty Growers. So, what makes this dish convey our local cuisine? In Keevil’s own words:
What is more Virginian then a Majestic Heritage Breed Pig? That is why I decided to use pork, and chose belly because it is my favorite cut. I added peanuts because back in the day pigs were used to go through the peanut fields, after harvesting, and till the land for the next crop in the rotation. Also, going to my grandaddies’ farm when I was a child we were surrounded by peanut fields, so this ingredient holds a important place in my heart. I added apples because we are getting into fall, which is apple season here in Virginia. When I was a child growing up in Virginia, one my favorite dishes that my mother cooked was pork chops and apple sauce — so again another food memory close to my heart. I included cilantro and jalapeño, which might not scream Virginia, but were cultivated in its soil so thus have a place in this dish. Also, they help cut the richness of the belly.