Nom Nom Paleo

Sous Vide Pork Belly

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Tonight was the first time I ever served pork belly, let alone sous vide pork belly. Thanks to my SousVide Supreme, it wasn’t a disaster and I didn’t have to order takeout as a back up.  In fact, it turned out pretty yummy.

A few nights ago, I brined two ¾-pound bricks of pork belly per the guidelines I found on David Barzelay’s site, Eat Foo. 

(Yes, the brine has brown sugar in it.)

The following morning, I removed the bellies out of the brine, dried them, and vacuum sealed them. 

Then, I dunked them in my SousVide Supreme (set at 160 F) and let them hang for 24 hours.  After a day passed, I put them in an ice bath and then stored them in the fridge until I cooked them off tonight for company.

I wasn’t sure whether or not to reheat the pork bellies in my SousVide Supreme before searing them so I opted to dunk them back in for 30 minutes at 160 F.  It might have been a mistake because when I tried to weigh the pork bellies down to flatten them post bath, the fat layer sheared right off the meat. Oh well. I decided to brown the four pieces separately and reassemble afterwards.

To sear the pork belly, I heated my cast iron skillet to medium high with 1 tablespoon of lard.  Then, I removed the pork bellies from their bags, pat them dry, and scored the fatty side with a sharp knife.

I browned the fat side for a good 4-5 minutes undisturbed and flipped it over to cook for an additional minute on the other side. 

The other two pieces were meatier, so I just seared them a minute on each side.

I plated them and then reassembled them to look like two solid pieces again.

Since I wasn’t sure we’d have enough meat to eat, I crisped up my last two sous vide chicken thighs straight from the fridge (6 minutes skin side down…

…then 2 minutes on the meat side).

Here’s our meat on a chipped serving platter:

For veggie sides, I served spinach and shallots sautéed in lard…


roasted butternut squash in lard

…and curried cream of broccoli soup.

Here’s my dinner plate:

The pork belly was tasty but the chicken thighs were awesome! I love that I can fry them straight from the fridge!

Weeknight Dinner for Company

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I love having people over for dinner but I used to also hate it because I’d be dead-tired by the end of the night.  Nowadays, I’ve learned to pare down my hands-on time so I’m not falling asleep while doing the dishes when the night is through.  Tonight, I had almost everything prepared earlier in the day (at a much more leisurely pace) and all I had to do before dinner was sear my sous vide flank steak, plate my roasted veggies, and nuke my garlic cauliflower “mashed potatoes.”  

Earlier in the afternoon, I prepared the garlic cauliflower “mashed potatoes" and put the finished side in a covered CorningWare.  The puree totally reheats well, so I just put it in something I could nuke and serve it in.

Also, I roasted the portobello mushrooms ahead of time but kept them in the foil packs.  After I was done roasting the other veggies in the oven, I put the packets in the oven (with thermostat turned off) to bring them up to temp before slicing and serving.

I roasted some carrots and sliced up delicata squash in a 425 F oven with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Those trays came out of the oven by 5:15 pm and they were served room temp.  To be fancy, I chopped up some Italian parsley and sprinkled them on top (along with my fancy balsamic vinegar).  I go all out for guests ;).

The sous vide flank steak didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. Yesterday afternoon,  I seasoned it (almost directly out of the freezer)  with homemade taco seasoning and some salt and pepper, then vacuum sealed it.  I plopped it in the SousVide Supreme set at 135 F and left it in there for 24 hours.  When it was time for dinner, I took the steak out of the bath and its bag, dried it, and fried it in my cast iron skillet with some lard.  Next time, I’m gonna go with a lower temp and a thicker steak because the final product was too dry.  Live and learn.  

I’m stoked I was able to polish off a lot of veggies in our fridge because we’re leaving town in a few days.  Yay!

World Series Mini Party: Yay Giants!

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Fitbomb is a huge Giants fan.  Me, not so much.  But I love having friends over for dinner, so Game 2 of the World Series was the perfect excuse to have a mid-week get-together.  Plus, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I HAD to order the 4505 Meat’s World Series DELUX CSA pack.  Wanna see what came in it?

See the chicharrones on top?  Sadly, there’s a whole mess of non-Paleo goodies underneath, including  Acme hotdog buns, spicy peanut cracker jacks, a box of chocolate pretzels and cream cheese brownies, homemade fritos…

Here’s everything laid out:

I’m glad I got the DELUX pack because the regular World Series CSA pack (sans sausages) really was just a snack box without much in the way of Paleo-friendly eats.  

Since I gotta have some greens with my meal, I supplemented the meaty treats with three veggie sides.  I sous vided some carrots (butter, salt, and pepper in the SousVide Supreme set at 185 F for 35 minutes) and seasoned them with Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar. I also roasted off some romanesco broccoli with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and when I plated the dish, I added a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.  For my last veggie side, I made marinated roasted bell peppers.  Yes, the same ones I make all the time. 

Here’s my dinner plate:

How were the meats?  The brisket was tasty but the portion that came in the cooler was extremely skimpy. I could have finished it all myself as a light snack.  I enjoyed the chicken ’n beer brat but I would’ve liked it to have a little more snap.  I was not a big fan of the Gigante dog.  The flavoring was fine but the texture was a little too mushy for me.  What can I say? I like my sausage meat firm.  Ewwww.  Gross.