Friday, September 13, 2013

Sous Vide Pork Cheek

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.

Although I had absolute confidence in this recipe in terms of the flavour and taste of the meat and the gravy, I wanted to confirm that the recipe would work well for pork too. Pork is after all a different meat from beef.

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. 

Ingredients (Serves 6)

12 pork cheeks
12 whole cloves
4 bay leaf
4 sprig of rosemary
12 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
ground pepper


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)
250g mushrooms
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.

Serve immediately.


  1. I know dancing cheek to cheek...but dunno if I'd had that part before in my food - not familiar with these details. Yours certainly look good though - ummm...what you dished out, I mean. LOL!!!

    1. Haha Arthur! Thanks for being the first to leave a comment on almost all my posts! :D

      Hey... my cheeks are not too bad too! :D

  2. I think you must love your sous vide machine very much.....the pork look super tender and it just pull apart.

  3. Hi Alvin, You made me want to get the sous vide machine fast!

    1. Lian, go get one and we can exchange cooking tips and ideas!

  4. ivy sew http://simplybeautifulhealthyliving.blogspot.comSeptember 13, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    Wow, already drooling just looking at the pics. Have a great weekend ahead, Alvin!

  5. Looking good, Alvin! I don't mind having these for my collagen supplement :)

  6. Don't think I've ever had pork cheek before, might ask my butcher next time if I can get some.

  7. Try adding a 100ml dashi stock to the bag with the pork cheeks and cooking them at 88C for 6 hours. 'At home with sous vide'

    1. Hi Dale! Sounds interesting! Let me try that next time. Thanks!

  8. Wow.... sooooo delicious and nice plating like from 5 stars hotel. You sure is an excellent cook! Nice clicks!

    Have a great weekend.

  9. Bro, another fine restaurant standard's meal, your family is lucky to have you.

  10. your food plating looking great! not a very usual part of the pig that i eat..only tasted roasted pork cheek from the siew yoke guy :D

  11. I've tried pork cheek in Chinese soup before but never as flavorful as the one you had lol It looks sumptuous for sure ! Another addition to your ever-growing restaurant menu :D

    1. Hey Anne! How do you know mine was flavourful? Haha... Thanks Thanks! :D

  12. wow.. that is delicious and looks right out of a fine dining kitchen

  13. This looks cooked to perfection and is presented beautifully. Very tasty!

    1. Hey Hazel! How are you? Thanks for your kind words! :D

  14. I simply LOVE your blog!! Sad you are not longer uploading new recipes :-(
    But here is a question, do you boil the gnocchi before putting it, and when the carrots are adding into the casserole dish? Along with the shallots?

    1. Hi! Thanks for loving my blog and I promise to update it more frequently!
      Nope, I add fresh gnocchi into the braising liquid. In a way, it thickens the gravy too.
      Oops I missed mentioning the carrots!! Yes, together with the shallots.
      Thanks for pointing that out - recipe updated!

    2. Thank you! And sorry if my questions were lame, I am new to sous vide, and since I am going to test this recipe, really wondered what will be the consistency of carrots after an hour at 80C. But as I said will find out this weekend :-). Thank you once again, and waiting for your new posts, no matter that just reading your previous gives me so much knowledge and comfort that I can make that too :-)

    3. Sorry for the late reply. Have to admit that this is one of my favorite dishes ever!! My guests were overexcited and they cleaned their plates, asking for more. Pork cheeks are not very popular in my country, but I managed to find some very tender cheeks from Spain, that were fed with acorns only.. don't wanna tease you anymore :-)

      Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work here. I really enjoy reading you here or in Facebook.

  15. I'm new to your blog. Was searching for a pork cheek recipe and discovered this. Being really into sous vide, I gave it a shot... Incredible. One of the best meals I have ever prepared. Wife loved it too. I have bookmarked your blog and can't wait to try another recipe.


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