Salsify carbonara with confit pork cheek, crackling and chestnuts

4
1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

Confit pork

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp juniper berries
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 250g of salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, cut into 1cm lengths
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, cut into 1cm lengths
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 pork cheeks, weighing 250-300g each
  • duck fat

Crispy pigs skin

  • 1 pig skin, about 20cm square
  • salt

Carbonara sauce

  • 150g of pancetta, diced
  • 75ml of white wine
  • 450ml of single cream
  • 75g of grated Parmesan
  • black pepper
  • milk, as needed
  • 1 egg yolk, optional

Salsify

  • 150ml of white wine
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 8 batons of salsify, rinsed in cold water

To serve

  • 2 tsp chopped parsley
  • 8 vacuum packed cooked chestnuts, finely sliced or shaved
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

1
Begin by making a curing mix for the pork cheeks. Add all the spices to a dry frying pan and toast over a moderate heat for a few minutes until aromatic. Transfer the spices to a blender and blitz to a powder. Add the salt, sugar, thyme, rosemary and garlic and blitz again until thoroughly combined
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp juniper berries
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 250g of salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, cut into 1cm lengths
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, cut into 1cm lengths
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
2
Sprinkle a thin, even layer of the curing mixture over a tray and lay the pork cheeks on top, making sure they are not touching each other. Sprinkle over more of the curing mixture, then cover the tray with cling film and leave to cure in the fridge for 24 hours
  • 2 pork cheeks, weighing 250-300g each
3
Preheat the oven to 130°C/gas mark 1/2. When the pork has finished curing, thoroughly rinse away the curing mixture from the cheeks, pat dry and place the cheeks in a large baking dish. In a small pan over a low heat, melt enough duck fat to cover the cheeks completely and pour evenly over the cheeks. Place in the oven and cook for approximately 2 hours, until soft and tender. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 30 minutes in the fat
  • duck fat
4
Lift the cheeks out of the fat and place on a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Cover with a second piece of paper then top with a flat tray weighed down with something heavy to press the cheeks flat as they cool. Once completely cold, remove the weights and paper and cut into 4 squares. Chill until ready to serve
5
Meanwhile, trim any excess fat away from the pig skin and lay out flat on a tray. Sprinkle over a little salt and leave for 20 minutes to draw out some of the moisture. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7
  • 1 pig skin, about 20cm square
  • salt
6
Rinse the salt from the skin and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper. Place between 2 baking trays to keep flat and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, or until really crispy. Allow to cool slightly, transfer to a blender and blitz to coarse crumbs. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve
7
To make the carbonara sauce, add the diced pancetta to a large pan and place over a gentle heat to allow the fat to render down slowly, which should take about 20 minutes. Add the wine, allow to reduce by half, then add the cream and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the cheese and pepper, adjusting the seasoning as needed. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of milk. Set aside
  • 150g of pancetta, diced
  • 75ml of white wine
  • 450ml of single cream
  • 75g of grated Parmesan
  • black pepper
  • milk, as needed
8
Heat a small frying pan with a dash of oil and add the cheeks, fat-side down, with a pan or weighted tray on top to keep them flat. Cook for 7–8 minutes then turn over, placing the weight back on top, and cook until golden
9
Meanwhile, prepare the salsify by half-filling a pan with cold water and adding the wine, salt and lemon juice. Peel the salsify then use the peeler to cut them into long ribbons, immediately adding to the pan to prevent discolouration. Place the pan over a high heat, bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes until tender. Drain well
  • 150ml of white wine
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 8 batons of salsify, rinsed in cold water
10
Reheat the carbonara sauce gently in a large pan. If using the egg yolk, whisk this in now, being careful not to have the heat too high as it will scramble. Add the salsify to the sauce with the chopped parsley and stir to combine
  • 1 egg yolk, optional
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley
11
To serve, divide the salsify and sauce between serving bowls and top with a piece of pork cheek. Scatter over the sliced chestnuts and some of the pork crackling crumb. Season with some extra black pepper and serve immediately
  • 8 vacuum packed cooked chestnuts, finely sliced or shaved
  • freshly ground black pepper