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When your well intentioned, but somewhat oblivious husband acknowledges that a meal has been a process you know it has been a lot of work… Either that or the sweat on my brow was too obvious to miss.

So part one of my weekend meat party with pork cheeks was a hit and I was riding high waking up Sunday morning ready to take on my second challenge the jowl. When the blogger tells you it is a lot of work – it is a lot of work! Learn from my mistake and listen.

I shouldn’t moan so much it was a lot of work, however it was more the heat outside combined with the heat inside from my cooking that made this seem like a more labour intensive process than it was. I will admit a little freak out when T. interfered with my make-shift steamer and dropped the last batch of steam buns in the water, not one of my finest moments.

However let’s go back to the beginning before it got terribly hot outside/inside… I prepped the braising liquid – a mixture of onion, chipotles, garlic, molasses, orange juice, and vinegar – and set the jowls to roast at 250F for 7 hours. As I said this was a process, one that should be reserved for Sundays when you are content to watch movies all day and enjoy the smells coming from the kitchen.

IMG_0682After the jowls were started I escaped the heat of the house leaving T. to suffer while I went to meet a friend at a local craft fair. Best idea of the weekend!

Arriving home with a few goodies I started on the buns – another long process. Looking at a few recipes I selected this from allrecipes.com. With a few modifications…

To begin:

  1. Mix together 1 tablespoon yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/4 cup warm water. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix in 1/2 cup warm water, 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, and  1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Knead until dough surface is smooth and elastic. Roll over in a greased bowl, and let stand until triple in size, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

At this point I was willing it to rise

I used the 2 1/2 hour gap to think about how I was actually going to steam these buns and watch a few episodes of The Inbetweeners on Netflix. Time well spent!

After the dough had tripled in size I punched out the dough on a floured surface,  sprinkled 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder over the dough, and kneaded for 5 minutes. Separate the dough into 2 parts, returning the piece you are not using to the bowl. Separate each half into 5 parts, working each piece into a long oval like shape.

Technically you are supposed to steam these in a wok on a steam plate – I used my roaster balanced on a small sauce pan to raise it above the water (feel free to laugh at me now). I thought it was quite clever actually 🙂

IMG_0687Steaming the buns took about 10 mins each batch. This was my first time making steamed buns – were they perfect? no but I was happy with the outcome.

In the mean time I sliced the chilled meat and seared it before tossing with a glaze made from the remaining braising liquid.

IMG_0685To serve I didn’t have pickled carrots as suggested, so just used leftover carrots from the night before and diced cucumbers.

IMG_0688See these little buns don’t look that work intensive do they?!? Well after 9 hours this marathon of a meal was ready.. And they were tasty! I have to admit I was slightly impressed with myself for the steamed buns.

We are a spilt household after the meat party this weekend, I liked the cheeks best and he liked the jowls best. Regardless both were delicious and next January I will be sure to do both again… NOW bring on the BBQ 🙂 Oven out…