You know when you need to go shopping but you really don’t fancy eating anything at all so you just rumble through the aisles putting random things in your trolley? Me neither.
It is usually all the way round, because even if I know I should not go shopping at lunch time or when I'm feeling hungry, I really can’t help myself. So every time I end up going to the supermarket and buying an awful lot more of what I have on my list. Shame on me.
One evening last week it was a bit late and we realized we were running out of milk, so with the excuse that everything else was closed or about to, I went to my favourite supermarket. I don’t normally go there because prices are quite high, but this time I only needed milk. What could happen? I told to myself: you just go in there, walk straight away to the fridge, pick the milk, pay, and leave. Do not look, do not stop, do not make a detour.
I could go to the reduced to clear fridge, couldn't I? Grabbing a bargain won’t hurt anyone… This is how good I am at lying to myself.
And there they were, fresh British outdoor bred pork cheeks at the amazing price of £0.5 per packet. Half a quid. For 4 cheeks. Unbelievable. How is it possible that the cheeks cost less than a bread loaf? Cheeks are one of the most valued meats in Spain, which can be found just in selected butcher’s highly overpriced. Last time I ate them was in my mum in law’s home, she cooked them specially for us.
Pork cheeks are exactly what their name implies: the slip of meat in the hollow of the cheek, underneath the animal's eyes. They're incredibly flavoursome and meltingly tender when cooked properly. Yes, I know you have mixed feelings now. But believe me, this meat is a melt in your mouth, get up and dance, and smack yourself in the head for not having eaten this earlier. Yes, it is that good.
This week recipe is definitely not going to be a one off. Even if you need around 3 hours to cook it perfectly, it is absolutely worth it. You will be licking the plate and dipping bread in the pan.
WHAT YOU NEED
4 Pork Cheeks
1 Cup Flour
2 Garlic Cloves
5 Red Onions
2 Red Peppers
4 Ripped Tomatoes
A bunch of Rosemary
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cups Red Rioja Wine
Salt and Pepper to taste
WHAT YOU DO
Remove membrane from the pig’s cheeks if you have not already ensured they were removed by your butcher.
Season pork’s cheeks with salt and pepper and dust in flour. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based casserole. Add the chopped garlic cloves and the pig’s cheeks and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes each side until browned. Remove and set aside.
In the same casserole and with the same oil, fry the vegetables gently, starting from the onions and leak. Once they are soft brown, add tomatoes and peppers. Season with paprika and rosemary.
Return all the pork to the casserole, add the potatoes peeled and in halves and pour in the wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan and mix in all the flavours.
Cook to low heat for 2 hours.
Once the meat is tender, remove the cheeks, set aside and keep warm. Bring the sauce to boil, bubble for 5-10 minutes until you have a rich, golden sauce, and blend. Return the pig’s cheeks to the casserole to warm through, then serve immediately.