Oven-cooked pork cheeks
( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Tamara West
Here are a few sides to serve with your favoured joint of roast meat. Potatoes and pumpkin are familiar partners but here I’m giving them a little more attention than just roasting them in the dish with the meat.
The pork cheeks are a slow roast, with plenty of liquid to ensure they are meltingly tender. Pork and beef cheeks are one of my favourite cuts. Ask your butcher for pork cheeks (I expect you have to get in before they are used in sausage-making). They are also available at speciality food stores.
|2 Tbsp||Olive oil|
|1 kg||Pork, cheeks, fat and silverskin removed, to give you about 650g (about 15 cheeks), I used Freedom Farm|
|1 stick||Celery, chopped|
|2 cloves||Garlic, finely chopped|
|1 bottle||Apple cider, 330ml, dry|
|250 ml||Chicken stock|
|2 sprigs||Fresh thyme|
|1 slice||Orange peel|
|1 tsp||Honey, (I used J. Friend and Co Wild Thyme Honey)|
- Heat the oven to 160C.
- Heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Brown pork cheeks on both sides, then transfer to a casserole dish.
- Add the onion and celery to the frying pan and cook gently until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 1 minute, add to the casserole dish.
- Add the remaining oil to the frying pan and stir in the flour to make a roux. Pour in the apple cider and allow to bubble up, pour in the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and pour over the pork cheeks. Ensure the pork cheeks are submerged in liquid.
- Add the herbs and strip of orange peel, cover the dish and place in the oven. Cook for 2-2½ hours until they are tender and literally melt in the mouth.
- Remove bay leaf and thyme stalks. Stir through the honey just before serving.
- Serve pork cheeks with mashed potato and apple sauce. The sauce should not need thickening, but if necessary, thicken with a butter and flour paste. (1 Tbsp softened nbutter mixed with 3 Tbsp flour).