Udon with 36-hour Pork Belly

Courtesy of Stephane Lemagnen (zencancook.com)
Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

For the sous vide pork belly

  • 2 pounds (0.9 kg) pork belly, skin on
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) coriander seeds, coarsely ground
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) star anise, coarsely ground
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) cardamom, coarsely ground
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon, coarsely ground
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) sake
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) mirin
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce

For the dashi (udon broth)

  • 2 quarts (1.8 liters) water
  • 5 squares (6-inches/15 cm) dried kombu
  • 1 cup (240 ml) tightly packed bonito flakes

For the udon

  • 6 handfuls udon noodles
  • 2 heads enoki mushrooms
  • 10 shiitake mushrooms
  • 6 organic eggs
  • some leafy greens, such as bok choy
  • nori/ dry shrimp mix
  • hot pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

For the sous-vide pork belly

  1. Rinse the pork belly and pat dry.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the salt and ground spices.
  3. Coat the pork belly with the salt and spice mixture, place in a pyrex dish, cover and refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours.
  4. When ready to cook, fill and preheat the SousVide Supreme to 144F/62C.
  5. Wash off the salt cure in cold running water and dry the pork belly.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the sake, mirin and soy sauce.
  7. Put the pork belly into a large cooking pouch with the sake mixture and vacuum seal. (Take care not to pull the liquid into the suction portal if using a suction vacuum. Alternatively, use a zip closure cooking pouch and the displacement principle to seal the pouch.)
  8. Submerge the pouch in the water bath and cook for 36 hours.
  9. Remove the pork belly from the water bath and quick chill, submerged in a bowl of iced water. Do not open the pouch. Refrigerate overnight with a weight on top.
  10. Open the pouch and scrape off the pork “consommé” from around the belly and use with the dashi (see below step 5).

For the dashi (udon broth)

  1. Place the squares of kombu in a pot, along with the two quarts of water.
  2. Over medium heat, slowly bring the pot of water to a near-boiling point. Remove the kombu.
  3. Add the bonito flakes. Wait for a few seconds until the liquid comes to a light simmer and turn off the heat.
  4. Let the bonito flakes sink to the bottom of the pot. Strain the dashi through a fine strainer.
  5. In a small saucepan melt the pork consommé gelatin. Strain and combine with the dashi to taste.

For the udon

  1. Fill and preheat the SousVide Supreme to 147F/64C.
  2. Gently place the eggs (in their shells) into the water and cook for 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile bring the pot of dashi to a simmer; add the udon noodles and cook until tender.
  4. Add the enoki and shiitake mushrooms and poach them gently in the broth.
  5. Add the leafy greens.

Finishing:

  1. Pan-fry a chunk of pork belly on the skin side until crisp and place in a 325F/163C oven until tender throughout.
  2. Ladle the udon and broth into large bowls. Top with mushrooms, greens, pork belly slices, nori and hot pepper. Crack the poached egg on top and serve.