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Sous vide pork cheek carnitas

By July 29, 2016 , ,

Pork cheeks are a tough cut of meat which are well suited to slow cooking methods. I do like my Mexican food and came across some recipes referring to carnitas which is usually a slow cooked dish of pork simmered in oil and thought I'd try it out.

As usual I decided to add my own twist with some adobo chilli paste, garlic and herbs and instead of simmering it in oil, sous viding it using smoked fat (or in my case the dripping left over from when I BBQ’d my mangalitza rib roast). With this particular cut it lends itself better to braising and confiting rather than straight slow roasting. If you roast without any liquid the meat has a tendency to come out on the dry side. 

2 pork cheeks
Heaped teaspoon sweet paprika
10g chipotle adobo paste
2 cloves garlic
3 sprigs fresh oregano
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
50g smoked pork fat (preferably in a solid state), if you havent got access to some then lard will suffice
10ml beef stock
Salt and pepper

To sous vide     
Coat the pork cheeks in the fat, paprika and adobo chilli paste
Place in a vacuum pack bag or zip lock freezer bag with the garlic, herbs and stock
Seal or close the bag (if using a freezer bag, ensure it doesn’t submerge fully otherwise the bag will fill with water) and place in the sous vide at 82c for 7 hours
Once cooked remove the cheeks from the bag and discard the garlic and herbs, the pork should now simply fall apart easily. 
Season with the salt and pepper to your taste.
I like to serve these on soft tortillas with a spicy coleslaw and guacamole.

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