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Extra tender Chipotle-Maple Pulled Pork cooked sous-vide served with fresh guacamole, black bean paste, corn tortilla and sour cream for a hot and sweet Mexican night!Chipotle-Maple Hot Tacos

Sweet and Spicy Mexican pulled pork tacos

This is my own version of spicy Mexican pulled pork tacos, with a Canadian flair to it of maple syrup. This particular recipe uses a sous-vide machine although it could easily be done in a slow cooker. The other day, while walking around my “Temple” called Santa Caterina Market, in Barcelona. I’ve ended up at my favorite pork butcher and got hypnotized by those skinless pork knuckles/ham hock, couldn’t resist the urge to try to make something special out of them. So here we are!

Pork knuckles / ham hock

Chipotle-Maple Pulled Pork Tacos

We don’t see many recipes around with this cut even though it’s divine tasting. It reminds me of pork cheek, the taste is somehow distinct, bolder and better in my opinion, above other cuts. Once perfectly cooked it becomes so tender, it falls apart easily plus it’s a way less fatty than let say pork belly… I already know the Germans (husby) love this cut, they make a popular roasted pork knuckle dish in Bavaria called Schweinshaxe. Delicious stuff, although you need the skin for this particular recipe.

Sous-vide

This cut of meat is essentially the elbows of the pork which contains lots of ligaments and tendons. For this reason the meat needs propre long and low temperature cooking in order to become extra tender and no better way to cook long and low than a sous-vide machine right? Of course the dish could be done in a crockpot or slow cooker for 1/4 of the time although the meat’s texture might change, less juicy and might be overcooked. I like sous-vide for this reason, the meat cooks to the perfect temperature guarantied and get cooked uniformly because the heat comes from all around while the slow cookers cook from the bottom part. However for this recipe I’ve used sous-vide method, slow cooker are great to make pulled pork too… simply add all the ingredient in the slow cooker and let it go for 5 hours at low temperature.

Chipotle-Maple Pulled Pork Tacos

I’ve always wanted to be a heat warrior like my siblings but in the end of the day I just have to accept that I’m weak. I do love some heat in my food but just cannot pass the “medium” level. That’s why I love to add a little sugar though those hot dishes of mine to calm the heat down and no better sweetener than my “home sweet home” maple syrup. This element bring a nice note to the dish, not powerful enough to make the meat sweet but enough to calm down all that heat and give the meat this extra layer of deliciousness… is that a word? Anyhow the maple syrup isn’t in everyone’s pantry so if you don’t have any simply substitute it for some honey.

So let’s start those tacos already!

 


Chipotle-Maple Pulled Pork Knuckles

Makes 10 tacos | Preparation: 48h | Difficulty: easy

IngredientsChipotle-Maple Pulled Pork
  • 2 pork knuckles/ham hock
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 220g (1 small can) of chipotle in adobo
  • 1 lime (or 3 tbsp of apple vinegar)
  • 5 tbsp of maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 5g butter
  • salt and pepper
Tacos sides
  • small corn tortillas
  • guacamole
  • black bean paste
  • sour cream
  • extra cilantro leaves
Directions
Sous-vide pork knuckles
  1. Add a touch of coarse salt and pepper to the skinless pork knuckles / ham hocks, add them to the plastic bag with the butter
  2. Sous-vide them (air tight bag) and let them 48 hours at 63°C (145F) for a tender result
  3. Once done with the help of a fork shred the meat and reserve
  4. Soften the onion in a small pan in a bit of olive oil and salt (5 minutes)
  5. Add to blender with 6 chipotles peppers from the can, 3 tbsp of the adobo sauce from the can and the rest of the ingredients, blend until homogeneous paste
  6. Mix the chipotle paste with the pulled pork and check the seasonning (salt and pepper)
  7. Serve with corn tortillas and sides

 

Enjoy!

Chipotle-Maple Pulled Pork Tacos

Maple-mustard Salmon on quinoa, dill, cucumber saladMaple-mustard glazed salmon on a red quinoa, dill, cucumber salad and a topping of crunchy skin, what else a Salmon lover could ask for? I’ve used the new technique my mom found which consist of marinating in a dry (salt+sugar) marinade the salmon and cook it at really low temperature, this way you get a salmon cooked to perfection, not dried up by the intense heat. It needs slightly more patience to do then the usual fish you do at 180°C (350F).salmonpin

For the coccion, you’ll have to marinade a good 45 minutes, plus let the fish out of the fridge at room temperature for another 30 minutes before cooking. I know, it can be a pain in the … the process is quite long, but believe me, the result is unbelievable. The slow coccion will help cook the fillets to perfection and keep them moist. The dry marinade will help with the texture of the fish, and its color, turning to a slightly darker color and a firmer exterior, and boost the salmon taste. Then all you have to do, is mid-coccion adding a flavorful glaze to the fish, in this case I’ve used maple-mustard and voilà. A fabulous, cooked to perfection salmon fillet.

The bed of red quinoa is a simple salad of cucumber, radish and fresh dill to make it extra fresh. A touch of the leftovers of maple-mustard glaze from the fish mix with some extra olive oil for dressing. Nothing too complex, but surely tasty.

Maple-mustard Salmon on quinoa, dill, cucumber saladIf you get the chance to buy the fillets with skin, it’s always a “must” to rapidly fry a piece of the skin in olive oil, until no more bubbles and then sprinkle some salt on it and voila! A great crunchy-salty bite to add to any of your salmon dishes. Be careful, do not forget to take off the scales at first, by scraping perpendicularly with the help of your chef’s knife or scraper with teeth, against the scales directions until they are all gone. This step is sometimes pre done or you could always ask your fishmonger/marchant to do it for you.

So let’s make this perfectly cooked Salmon fillet!


Maple-mustard Salmon filet on a red quinoa, dill, cucumber salad

Makes 2 portions

Ingredients
Salmon
  • 2 salmon fillets (with skin preferably)
  • 3 tbsp of salt
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 3 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp of white wine mustard (or with grains)
The quinoa salad
  • 250g of red quinoa
  • 20 cm long cucumber cut into cubes
  • 2 radishes thinly cut
  • a few branches of fresh dill finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Start by scraping and taking off the skin of the salmon, by holding the skin tight while passing a sharp knife between the flesh and skin.
  2. Add the 3 tbsp of sugar and salt to the salmon + skin and let marinate 45 minutes in the fridge
  3. When marinade is done, rinse off the salt and sugar away and path dry, leave at room temperature for 30 minutes
  4. Bring oven to 120°C (250F) (yes… that low)
  5. Cook the salmon filets for 20-30 minutes depending on their thickness
  6. Mix the maple syrup and mustard
  7. Glaze the fish mid-coccion and keep a bit for the quinoa salad dressing
  8. When the fish is glazed, add olive oil to the leftover of maple-mustard and reserve
  9. Cook the quinoa as indicated
  10. When ready mix the maple-mustard dressing, quinoa, cucumber, radish, dill, salt and pepper and mix the salad
  11. *optional -In a pan, add olive oil and fry the salmon skin until crisp, salt it when done, reserve
  12. When the side of the salmon fillet comes right off with a fork it’s ready, serve the fillet on a bed of the quinoa salad and top with the crunchy skin

Enjoy!

Maple-mustard Salmon on quinoa, dill, cucumber salad