If you don’t own a sous vide machine like the Anova yet, you need to go out and get one. Like right now. And then get some pork belly. And make these crispy pork belly sandwiches with white cheddar and roasted garlic cilantro aioli. You won’t regret it!
Okay I’m not one to brag, you guys. But I just can’t get over how crispy and amazing this pork belly is. Deliciously tender on the inside, and super crunchy and crispy on the outside: and I owe it all to the Anova Precision Cooker that my fiancé bought me as a birthday gift last year. This machine is an incredibly affordable at-home immersion circulator that is a great option for the at-home cook who wants to sous vide like a pro. And believe me, as technical and intimidating as the term “sous vide” sounds, it definitely is not difficult at all!
In fact, I’d argue it makes cooking meat simpler because by starting your meat hours in advance, this is one less “component” of your meal that you have to worry about while you’re prepping for dinner. This method is great for the home cook who wants delicious gourmet-quality dishes on their dinner table, but doesn’t have as much time at the end of a busy work day. Start your sous vide in the morning and come home to a delicious-smelling house with dinner almost ready!
I plan on doing a full review of the Anova in the future, but for now I would definitely recommend this item to any home cook looking to enter the world of “sous vide” who doesn’t have a ton of money to invest in a new product. This is a very affordable option that turns any pot or container you have in your kitchen into an immersion circulation system. The idea behind sous vide is that your meat is cooked in a sealed bag placed inside a temperature-controlled water bath that allows it to cook low and slow while all of the juices are retained in the bag. This gives you the ability to cook your meat to precision and allows for a pretty precise “repeatability factor” in that you can use the same amount of meat, cooked for the same amount of time, at the same temperature and end up with a consistently delicious product each time. I love it!
We literally don’t cook our steaks any other way now (more on that to come!). I also find it important to note that you can finish off your meat in a variety of different ways, for example you can grill it, sauté it, or (like in this case) broil it.
These sandwiches are then finished off with white cheddar, tomatoes, greens, and one of my favorite aioli’s I’ve developed to date: a roasted garlic and cilantro aioli. If you aren’t roasting garlic for like every dish you make, you aren’t living. 😀
Related: Sautéed Shrimp Rolls
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- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 tbsp. minced ginger
- 2-3 splashes fish sauce
- 1 ½ lb. pork belly, skin removed
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 8 slices ciabatta
- 4-6 oz. white cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
- 3-4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
- Spring greens
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Olive oil
- Combine hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce in a small bowl.
- Pat the pork belly dry on all sides. Rub olive oil, salt, and pepper on both sides. Place in a vacuum-sealed bag. Add the prepared sauce to the bag, slathering it so that it coats the entire surface of the pork belly. Seal bag.
- Using sous vide machine, cook pork belly for 16 hours at 158 degrees Fahrenheit.
- At this point, the pork belly in the vacuum-sealed bag can be placed in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours prior to finishing the recipe. If you decide to refrigerate, bring the meat back up to temperature using the sous vide machine again at 158 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While pork belly is cooking, prepare the toppings. Add peeled garlic cloves to a small oven safe bowl and cover with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover bowl with a small piece of tin foil and roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Once garlic has roasted, remove from oil and allow to cool slightly. Finely mince garlic and add to a small bowl with mayonnaise, lemon juice, and cilantro. Stir until combined, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat broiler to high heat. Toast ciabatta slices under the broiler until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.
- Remove pork belly from vacuum-sealed bag and pat dry. Place on a baking sheet and cook under the broiler until crispy. Watch closely: depending on the set up of your broiler, you may need to move the baking sheet around to ensure each section of the pork belly is crisped. It should be a beautiful dark golden brown, charred in a few places if desired but not burned. Once crispy, flip the pork belly over and repeat this process on the other side.
- Remove pork belly from oven and slice. Place four piles of 3-5 slices of pork belly each on the baking sheet. Top with white cheddar cheese. Place back under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, until cheese has fully melted.
- To assemble sandwiches, top one slice of ciabatta bread with a pile of pork belly and white cheddar. Top with tomato slices, spring greens, and aioli, followed by a second piece of ciabatta bread. Enjoy!