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


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot then add the onion.
  2. Cook gently for 10 — 15 minutes until softened and lighty coloured. Remove and set aside.
  3. Toss the cheeks in the seasoned flour. Add a little more oil to the pan and turn up the heat.
  4. Brown the pork cheeks on either side in batches, setting them aside when browned. Turn the heat down to medium.
  5. 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.
  6. Pour in the wine. Use your spoon to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
  7. Pour in the beef stock then bring the pan to a simmer.
  8. 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.

One Response

  • I’m going to try this, thanks! It looks like a comforting – and forgiving – dish. Two hours of simmering sounds just the ticket for “relaxing while we wait”.

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