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Cochinita pibil - slow cooked pork cheek with Al pastor rub

This is taking Al pastor one step further making the rub and marinade and then slow cooking the pork in fat until it falls apart.
Its a fantastic mix of sweet and sour flavours and deep earthy notes from the spices and annato. When using annato be very careful as it can stain your skin, clothes and work surfaces easily. 

500g pork cheeks
50g pork fat

15g annato seeds
5g cloves
10g cumin seeds
5g pimenton whole
2cm piece cinnamon
5g black peppercorns
10g oregano
5g sea salt

In a dry pan on a low heat roast off the cloves, peppercorns, cumin, cinnamon and pimenton for 5 minutes
Transfer to a mortar and pestle with the salt and oregano and ground to a fine powder

2 cloves garlic crushed
100ml orange juice
Juice of 2 limes

Mix the marinade with the rub and place the pork cheeks in the rub overnight to marinade
Set your oven or BBQ (indirect) to 140c 
Place the cheeks in a cast iron pan or baking dish and pour in enough marinade to cover it half way
Add the pork fat
Place the lid on the pan and cook for 3 hours until the pork becomes tender, start checking after a couple of hours
Allow to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes before serving on tortillas with lime pickled onions and coriander

Refried beans

I love refried beans, happily eat a bowl all on their own or as a side with some good tacos. This is also great as a party dish topped with salsa and cheese forming the basis for a tasty dip. I cook this dish quite often and get to have it all to myself as my other half hates beans. 

400g tinned black beans
1 onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 red chilli
1 green chilli
5g Mexican oregano
5g tomato puree
15g chipotle in adobo
10g coriander leaves finely chopped (hold some back for garnish)
70g chorizo finely chopped
30g creme fraiche
20g pork fat
5ml lime juice
Salt and pepper

On a low heat melt the pork fat and fry off the onions, chillies and garlic for about 10 minutes until soft and glossy
Add the tomato puree and cook for a further 5 minutes
Add the chorizo and cook until it starts to release its fat
Next, add the beans, oregano, bay leaf and chipotle, stir to combine and cook for 20 minutes
To finish add the lime juice, coriander and creme fraiche and stir though
Season to taste with the salt and pepper
Garnish with the rest of the coriander

Asparagus and smoked ham soup

Ham and asparagus are a wonderful combination, sweetness of the asparagus and earthy smokiness of the ham. I used a ham shoulder for this recipe which I had cured and smoked myself. The recipe came about as I had some leftovers from a Sunday roast, and I didn't want to waste the stock that I had poached the ham in before roasting. A delicious no waste recipe for this time of year. 

To make the stock
500g cured and smoked ham hock or shoulder
1 onion quartered
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme
2 cloves
1 carrot roughly cut
1 leek roughly cut
3 cloves garlic bruised to release the oils
Place the above ingredients in a pan and cover with water
Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours
After 3 hours, remove the ham hock and strain the stock, reserve 2 litres of the stock to make the soup

I often like to roast the ham for about 30 minutes at 200c, for added flavour, then reserve half for the soup.

For the soup
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 potatoes thinly sliced
200g smoked ham meat
500g asparagus peleled
1g freshly chopped parsley
2 litres of stock
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
30g creme fraiche

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil until soft and glossy
Add all the ingredients bar the salt, pepper and creme fraiche and bring to the boil,
Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes
Once cooked place the soup mix in a blender and process until smooth
Stir through the creme fraiche and season with the salt and pepper

Chinese style roast seabass

Whole baked fish doesn't need to be complicated and can make a great party dish. This simple marinade certainly packs a punch in flavour and really works well with fish such as seabass or dorade.

10ml sesame oil
45ml soy sauce
30ml rice wine
4 scallions sliced diagonally
15g ginger sliced into julienne
1 red chilli sliced diagonally
1 whole fish - dorade or seabass

Mix the sesame oil, soy sauce and rice wine together
Place a quarter of the vegetables on the bottom of a baking dish or cast iron pan
Place the fish on top, stuff the cavity with more vegetables and then scatter the rest on top
Pour over the liquid mix ensuring you cover the whole fish, place to one side to marinade for 2 hours
Set your oven to 170c (fan) 180c (normal) or BBQ for indirect cooking at 180c
The time taken to cook the fish will vary depending on the size you have chosen, aim for 30 minutes minimum or until it has reached a core temp of 57c
Other indicators of doneness are opaque eyes or that you can easily remove the fins

Chicken tacos Al Pastor style with achiote marinade

Al pastor is a central Mexican (Oaxacan) style of cooking either on a spit or grill. It is typically made using pork but in this recipe I went for chicken. The marinade for this dish consists of achiote paste and pureed pineapple which give it its unique flavour.

Achiote is mentioned in many al pastor recipes, it is a paste made from herbs and spices blended with oil and lemon juice or vinegar. It is also known as Recado Rojo, and is a combination of cumin, all spice, oregano, black pepper, salt, garlic, clove, cinnamon and annato. When using this paste, bear in mind the annato is what imparts colour to the paste and will stain your skin (and your clothes). It also provides a good spicy and sour foil to the sweetness of the pineapple juice in the marinade. 

Pineapple is also good for tenderising meat as it contains the enzyme bromelain which digests protein. You need to be careful on two points when using pineapple. First the marinating time, leave your meat too long and you'll end up with mush as the enzyme will break down the meat very quickly. The length of time will also depend on the thickness of the meat. Second the flavour, pineapple has a strong flavour, use too much and it will dominate. You need a good balance in this recipe, so keep that in mind. 

I also use lime in this recipe as a seasoning, rather than in the marinade. Lime contains citric acid which can toughen and cook the meat if you use it in the marinade.

Serves 2
4 chicken thighs, cut into halves
2 slices fresh pineapple 

100g achiote paste 
10ml sherry vinegar
20ml rapeseed oil
2g chipotle chilli powder
1g salt
50ml pureed pineapple to be added about 15 minutes before cooking

Mix the achiote paste, with the vinegar, oil, chilli powder and salt to form a loose paste
Coat the thigh meat in the paste and marinate for 6 hours in the fridge
About 15 minutes before cooking, remove the chicken from the fridge to come up to room temperature and pour over the pineapple juice, mix in well 

Set your barbecue up for direct cooking at 220c
I like to use a cast iron griddle for extra flavour, allow the griddle to heat up for at last 15 minutes so it's nice and hot for cooking
Place the onion and the pineapple slices on the griddle and cook for 2 minutes each side
Once cooked, remove to one side and keep warm
Cook the chicken pieces for 5-7 mins, constantly turning them to ensure an even char and cook

I like to serve these in corn tortillas with sprinkled with lime juice, chopped coriander and smoked feta.

If you want to purchase the achiote paste for this recipe you can order it online from the Cool Chile Co 

This is not a sponsored post, I just like the products from Cool Chile and have been buying from them for over 20 years now.

Cheers and have a great weekend peeps from Rosalias Menagerie

Continuing the weekly cheers and supporting the bar industry. This weeks signature cocktail comes from Rosalia's Menagerie in Amsterdam.

45ml Plantation pineapple rum
10ml Plantation oftd overproof rum
25ml filliers passionfruit jenever
15ml crème de peche
10ml grenadine
Whole egg

dry shake and served over three ice cubes in a Cognac glass.
Grapefruit discard zest and a stripe of peychauds bitters as garnish

You can find details on their voucher scheme here 

Roast Ling with shrimp and lemon caper butter

Ling is a white fish with a wonderful sweet flavour. It holds together well during cooking and doesn't tend to fall apart as easily as cod. I like to salt the ling before cooking as it firms up the fish and adds a subtle flavour. The tang of the sauce contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the shrimp and the ling. 
2 200g pieces of ling
20g fine grained salt
100g brown shrimp 
50g unsalted butter
10ml rapeseed oil
20g capers
10ml lemon juice

Salt the pieces of ling all over and place in the fridge for an hour to firm up
Preheat the oven to 160c (fan) 170c (normal) or set your BBQ up for indirect cooking at 170c
Wash the salt off and pat dry
Gently heat up the rapeseed oil in a pan and fry the ling skin side down to crisp it up
Place the pan in the oven/BBQ and cook for 15 minutes or until it reaches 55c internal temp
For the last 5 minutes of cooking add the butter, shrimp and capers
Once the fish is done, remove from the oven and add the lemon juice and stir through