Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Sous-vide Bacon Belly

I've been cooking using sous-vide for a while now, but realised that I wasn't recording my recipes so I was at risk of forgetting them. I built my own sous-vide, but you can get clip-on devices for under £200 these days, so it's almost in the reach of everyday cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 600g slab of cured pork belly, cut into thirds
  • 10 leaves of fresh sage
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp of sunflower oil
  • 2 Bramley or cooking apples, peeled, core removed and sliced into half cm slices.
  • 15g butter

Method:

  1. Put your sous-vide machine on to 68 degrees Celsius.
  2. Turn down the top of three zip lock freezer bags (to reduce the risk of getting raw meat on the outside of the bag) and place each slice of pork into a separate bag.
  3. Rip up the sage leaves and divide between the bags.
  4. Use the water submersion method to squeeze all the air out of the bags, sealing the top just as it's above the line of the water.
  5. Place in the sous-vide machine for 24 hours. Pork belly sometimes floats (although rarely when cured) so you might need to rest a plate gently on top to force it under the water.
  6. About 25 minutes before it's time to eat, put the onions in a saucepan with a tablespoon of the sunflower oil. Put a lid on the pan and sweat the onions over a low heat for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the apple and cooking for a further 15 minutes with the lid on, stirring every minute or so. When the apple starts to break apart then its ready. If it looks a bit dry at any point then add a couple of tablespoons of cold water.
  8. When the meat has had its day of cooking, remove it from the sous-vide machine and pour the cooking liquids out of the bags into a jug. Use kitchen towel to wipe the skin side of the pork until it's fully dry.
  9. Heat the last two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
  10. Place the slices of pork onto the frying pan, skin side down, and fry for about a minute to crisp up the skin.
  11. Put the slices of pork on your serving plates and throw the juice from the sous-vide bag into the frying pan to deglaze the pan. Let it simmer for about a minute before adding the butter.
  12. Once the butter has melted into the sauce, drizzle it over the slices of pork and place a spoonful of the apple sauce on the side.
  13. Serve with mashed potato, rice or some proper homemade baked beans.

Serves 3.

Once cooked in this way you can also keep the belly in the bag and place it into the fridge when it's cooled a bit. The liquid around it will set into a jelly as it cools. You can then leave it in the fridge for a few days, ready to eat when you want it. To reheat, heat a bit of oil in a frying pan on a medium-high. Scrape the jelly off the belly and sear first one side and then the opposite one for a couple of minutes on each side. Throw the jelly into the pan for the last minute and it'll melt down and pull off the char from the pan. Serve and drizzle the liquid from the pan over the belly to get something like this:

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