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FOOD & DRINK

Get Stuck Into Chef Scott Pickett's Recipe for Pork Jowl with Cider and Boudin Noir

The Saint Crispin chef puts a unique spin on classic pork and apple.
By Lauren Vadnjal
September 10, 2015
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By Lauren Vadnjal
September 10, 2015
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We don't know how things go down in your household, but the only food we generally pair a cider with is a packet of salt and vinegar chips on a balmy afternoon. But while this is undoubtedly a terrific use of an ice-cold bottle of the alcoholic apple beverage, it turns out that cider is great when used as an ingredient in your food as well.

It's not just us saying that, by the way. Melbourne's Scott Pickett, chef and restaurateur at Saint Crispin and Estelle Bistro, agrees. "It adds an interesting element to a sauce or dish or puree, as opposed to using your standard red or white wine," says Pickett, who after reopening his Northcote restaurant The Estelle as Estelle Bistro earlier this year, has just opened the second phase of the space: Estelle by Scott Pickett.

And what does cider complement best? According to Scott, it goes best with cured salmon and fish, charcuterie and — of course — pork.

Pork jowl — which, for the record, is the cheek of the pig — is somewhat of a signature for Scott, who has continually used the jowl on the menu at his evolving High Street restaurant. With Estelle Bistro opening in February, the lineup changed, but jowl still stands as a stalwart. Only now it benefits from the addition of an ingenious cider gel.

Adding the blobs of cider to the plate adds a whole other taste to the pork, says Scott. '"The sweet, yet dry flavour profiles of the cider and the fragrant apple add an extra element to the dish."

So if you want to get a bit fancy with your cider and experience the true culinary chemical reaction that occurs when pork and apple are combined in the same mouthful, try making Scott Pickett's signature pork jowl with cider gel and boudin noir (that's a French blood sausage) this weekend. Fancy, fancy recipe below:

Ingredients

3 pork jowls, skin on
500ml apple juice
375ml James Squire cider
200g boudin noir (blood sausage)
4 pickling onions
5g agar agar
1tsp seeded mustard
Red mustard leaves
500g rock salt
1 bunch of thyme
1 bunch of sage
4 cloves of garlic

For the pork jowl

Place the rock salt, thyme, sage and garlic in a food processor and process all ingredients until well combined. Trim any excess fat and skin from the pork jowls, cover them in the salt mix and leave to sit in the fridge overnight. The next day, rinse off the salt and place jowls on a roasting rack lined with baking paper and roast at 230 degrees for 80 minutes.

For the cider gel

Pour the cider into a saucepan and, on the stove, reduce it until there's only half the liquid left. Add the apple juice and agar agar. Bring the liquid back to the boil, and when it's boiling, pour into a bowl and place it in the fridge to set. Once it has set, place the liquid into a blender and puree until a smooth gel forms.

For the Boudin Noir crumb

Roughly break up the boudin noir and place it on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake in the oven at 150 degrees until the sausage has dried out and resembles large breadcrumbs.

To serve

Cut the pickling onions in half and roast with the layers facing down in a very hot pan. Continue to roast until slightly charred and tender, and when you remove them from the oven, separate the layers to get a shell-like shape. Take out the pork and cut it into 2cm slices. Place one slice of the pork jowl in the centre of the plate, and surround it with three dabs of the cider gel and three of the onion shells. Top with the boudin noir crumbs, dribble the grain mustard over the plate and garnish with the mustard leaves.

Published on September 10, 2015 by Lauren Vadnjal

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