I know it’s supposed to be summertime and you weren’t expecting to see the word ‘braised’ for another 4 months at least, but it’s still remarkably cool at night, and these succulent pork cheeks are hugely satisfying morsels that can be combined to make a fantastic tapas. It’s time for Spanish themed evening, with Padron Peppers (fried with chorizo), broadbean and minted goat’s cheese on toast, gazpacho, and braised pork cheek.
A pork cheek is quite small, so you could have 1 each for a starter, and should be braised for at least two hours until it yields under the gentle push of the fork. Combined with veg and red wine or sherry for a rich, thick sauce, this is a superb warming dish without overwhelming your summer evening with a massive slab of meat.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large finely chopped onion
- 1 carrot, slice
- 750g (1 1/2lbs) pork cheeks
- 1 tbsp well-seasoned flour
- 3 garlic cloves (crushed)
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 cups beef stock
- Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot then add the onion.
- Cook gently for 10 — 15 minutes until softened and lighty coloured. Remove and set aside.
- Toss the cheeks in the seasoned flour. Add a little more oil to the pan and turn up the heat.
- Brown the pork cheeks on either side in batches, setting them aside when browned. Turn the heat down to medium.
- Return all the pork and the carrots and onions to the pan. Add the garlic, thyme, cumin, paprika and cinnamon, and cook for a minute.
- Pour in the wine. Use your spoon to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
- Pour in the beef stock then bring the pan to a simmer.
- Simmer gently for 2 hours or until the cheeks are tender.
Remove the cheeks and whizz up the sauce with a blender and reduce if necessary to thicken. Goes well with fries or mashed potato, topped with the sauce.