Iberico Secreto Sous-Vide with Pomegranate and Chervil Root

For the main course of our Christmas dinner I wanted to prepare iberico pork, as I had liked it so much when I tried it for the first time. Because REMCooks’ pork with pomegranate sauce had looked so Christmas-like with the red and green colors when I first saw it, I thought it would be nice to do a pomegranate sauce for this pork as well. I prepared a very simple sauce: reduced pomegranate juice mixed with pork demi-glace, garnished with fresh pomegranate arils. It worked very well with the pork.
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For a side I got some chervil roots and thought it would be nice to make them look like christmas trees by sticking fresh chervil on them. I used pork demi glace as the ‘glue’, which was so sticky that I got frustrated and gave up on making them look like christmas trees. I was tired after a long day of cooking, and adding the fresh chervil could only be done at the last minute. The plate still looks nice, although I suppose I could have used a bit more of the pomegranate sauce.

Secreto is a thin shoulder cut of the iberico pig. The meat has beautiful marbling and a wonderful flavor. I cooked it sous-vide for 48 hours to serve it tender and juicy. I wanted to serve it as bigger slices, so I used transglutaminase to ‘glue’ a few layers of secreto together. This worked like a charm.

Ingredients

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For 4 servings

600 grams (1.3 lbs) iberico secreto

about 6 grams transglutaminase

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

juice from 2 pomegranates

arils of 1 pomegranate

120 ml (1/2 cup) pork demi-glace (pork stock reduced to 10%)

clarified butter for searing

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For the chervil

8 chervil roots

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

fresh chervil

60 ml (1/4 cup) pork demi-glace as ‘glue’

Preparation

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Cut the secreto into slices of approximately equal size and dust all but one of them with the transglutaminase (Activa RM or Activa EB)

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Build a stack of the the slices, making sure that there is transglutaminase wherever they touch and that the ‘grain’ of the meat is the same in all of the layers (so you will be able to cut it ‘against the grain’ later). Season the outside of the ‘roast’ you’ve just created with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Vacuum seal.

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Cook sous-vide for 48 hours at 57ºC/135ºF.

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To make pork demi-glace, start with defatted pork stock (made from ground pork, pork foot for the gelatin, and some vegetables).

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Reduce it over low heat to about 10%.

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Peel the chervil root and make sure to cut off the top such that each root will stand upright.

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Vacuum seal the chervil roots with olive oil and salt.

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As the sous-vide cooker was already taken by the iberico, I cooked the chervil root sous-vide in a stock pot with a digital thermometer.

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Cook the chervil root sous-vide for 1 hour around 88ºC/190ºF.

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After 48 hours, take the iberico out of the sous-vide cooker. Discard the liquid that has leaked from the meat.

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Pat the meat dry with paper towels.

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Quickly brown the iberico on all sides in clarified butter over very high heat.

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Allow the iberico to rest, wrapped in aluminum foil.

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Pour the fat out of the frying pan and deglaze the pan with pomegranate juice.

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Add the pork demi-glace.

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Reduce the sauce over low heat until is nice and thick.

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Meanwhile, the chervil roots should be cooked.

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Remove them from the bag and pat dry with paper towels.

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Coat the chervil roots with pork demi-glace.

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Slice the meat across the grain and arrange the meat on warm plates. Garnish with the pomegranate sauce and pomegranate arils. Arrange the chervil roots on the plates, and cover them with chopped fresh chervil.

Wine pairing

We had this with an oaked chardonnay from Alto Adige, but in hindsight it did not work as well with the pomegranate as I had hoped. I would recommend a rosé champagne with this, or a full-bodied dry rosé.

Flashback

Two years ago for Christmas we had sous-vide pigeon breast with smoky pigeon jus (made by smoking the pigeon carcasses before turning them into stock). Pigeon breast is one of those meats that really benefits from sous-vide as it is very easily overcooked and will then have a ‘liver’ taste.

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12 thoughts on “Iberico Secreto Sous-Vide with Pomegranate and Chervil Root

  1. Nicely done, Stefan. I like the way you built the “shoulder roast” and imagine it was quite flavorful. I actually have some transglutaminase that I bought to make a Thomas Keller dish but haven’t taken the time to do it. I really need to play with it, especially after seeing this post. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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    1. This is the most flavorful pork I have ever tasted, and it has all that flavor with just salt and pepper. I first thought about adding pomegranate to all dishes in the christmas menu, but in the end I decided on just the pork and the tart. Thanks for introducing me to pomegranate. It’s as if you were there in spirit 😉

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        1. It’s hard to believe those pots are 15 years old and have not been cared for that carefully. DeMeyere pots are just wonderful, also for there superior heat distribution. When I bought these I thought they were very expensive, but I’ve never regretted that purchase. Now I only buy DeMeyere, except for non-stick (which despite the hefty price tag will still deteriorate after a year or two even if it’s a DeMeyere, and thus I’d rather buy a new cheap non-stick every two years).

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