Satisfied with the texture of the Pork Cheek Confit that I cooked 2 weeks ago, I bought more pork cheeks from my butcher last weekend. This time I used the trusted Sous Vide Beef Cheek recipe, which I have been using regularly, to cook the pork cheeks with some modification.
We were all very happy with the result although I felt that beef cheeks still have the extra edge over pork in terms of texture and it has more collagen. Having said that, I think I will cook the pork cheek version of this recipe more frequently going forward considering the cost price of the beef cheeks is more than double that of pork!
We had the pork cheek with a bottle of Joseph Faiveley Bourgogne Burgundy. The wine was easy on the palate with just enough acidity to perk up the flavors of the pork cheeks.
12 pork cheeks
12 whole cloves
4 bay leaf
4 sprig of rosemary
12 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the water bath to 82°C.
Remove any remaining cartilage and fat from the cheeks. (Do not remove the silverskin that runs through the center of each cheek). Wash them under cold running water.
Pat the cheeks dry with kitchen paper and place the dry cheeks and the rest of the ingredients in 3 vacuum pouches (3 cheeks into 1 and divide the rest of ingredients equally). Seal with hard vacuum.
Place the sealed bag in the preheated water bath and cook the cheeks for 8 hours.
Once cooked, retain the cheeks in the bag and cool in ice water. Do not open the bag until needed.
Like me, you can prepare the cheeks days before and keep in the fridge. Heat up and cook the sauce on the actual day itself.
To finish the dish:
2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
15 shallots, peeled
150g unsalted butter
200g pancetta (Or bacon)
30-40 pcs gnocchi
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
200ml dry white wine
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Peel the carrots and shallots and place them in 2 separate sous vide bags.
To the shallots, add some olive oil, salt and pepper.
To the carrots, add 20g of butter and salt.
Seal the bags and cook in water bath at 80°C (an hour for the carrots and 30 minutes for the shallots)
If the cheeks are pre-prepared and kept in fridge for days, heat up the bags with cheeks for about 20-30 minutes.
Remove the cheeks from the bag. Pass the juice through a fine sieve.
Cut the mushrooms in 1/2 ‘s and dice the pancetta.
Heat a medium size casserole dish with the butter, once the butter has melted and start to brown add the pancetta, mushrooms, carrots and the shallots (cooked in water bath with the liquid). Sauté until golden brown.
Add the balsamic vinegar and the white wine to deglaze and cook for a few minutes until the wine reduced and become sticky.
Add the cooked cheeks and liquid from the bag to the casserole dish.
Bring to a gentle simmer. Add soy sauce and sugar and cover the dish with a lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes to ensure that the cheeks are piping hot and the shallots are cooked. Add gnocchi. Reduce the liquid to a shiny and sticky consistency.
Adjust the seasoning if needed.
Spoon the carrots, shallots, mushrooms and gnocchi over the bottom of deep pasta plates, arrange the cheeks and finish the dish with the sauce. Garnish with alfalfa sprouts or any herbs.