sousvidepork

Weekdays can be tough for us amateur cooks. As much as we’d like to spend the day prepping something fresh and wonderful to serve one’s family for dinner, the reality is our jobs kind of get in the way. That’s why I do a lot of cooking on weekends, making things that I know won’t lose any flavour or freshness when frozen and defrosted several days later. One of the best methods for cooking this way is sous-vide.

I’m a big fan of preparing certain foods using this method of vacuum-packing ingredients (often with flavouring agents) and slow-cooking them in a water bath at a constant (and often low) temperature. Certain foods only need a short period of time (a steak for example is best when cooked between 20 minutes to at the very most an hour) while others, especially fatty tough cuts, benefit from overnight or even multiple night stints in the hot tub. Not only does this process allow you to ensure that ingredients are never over or undercooked, but it also allows you to plunge your vacuum-packed bags of cooked foods into an ice bath, thus rapidly chilling products which staves off the growth of harmful bacteria.

One of my favourite cuts of meat to prep ahead of time is pork belly. The method I’ve adopted actually takes quite a while, but the good thing is you can prep quite a large quantity at a time. I usually make enough portions for several meals for my wife and I, or enough for one of our larger dinner parties.

sousvideporkchopped

The secret to a great, full-flavoured hunk of pork belly, I have learnt over the years, is to brine it overnight. This injects savoury and aromatic elements into the pork. I then add an additional flavouring base when vacuum-packing and cooking the pork, which just adds more depth and character. Once the pork is done and when you want to eat it, you just have to slice it then fry it, fat side down; grill it fat side up under a salamander; or blow-torch it to your perfect level of charred yumminess. When cooked this way, the fat literally melts in your mouth, while the meat is perfectly moist and tender.

sousvideporkrice

As an example, the above is a super-quick weeknight dinner I made the other night for my wife and myself. This batch of pork belly was prepped using the Nomiku immersion circulator, which I had crowd-funded via Kickstarter and quite like. (I have another more hardcore immersion circulator which has a few more control options than the Nomiku, but the Nomiku is both slimmer and way more attractive.) Having debagged my little slab of belly, I cut a diagonal pattern into the fat and popped it under my salamander until charred gorgeously. I then carefully sliced up the pork, and blow-torched the pieces briefly to add a bit more char around the edges. The pork was then plated with a fried egg and some pickled cucumbers (another thing we make on weekends and keep in jars in the fridge) over rice with seasoned sesame seeds. Perfect dinner which took no time at all to prep.

 

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his three kids!

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19 December 2014

Comments

Easy way to chill after the cook: Pour out water and add new water plus ice, set the circulator for 0 degrees and turn on. With the setting that low, the heater never comes on and the circulator cools it rapidly.

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