Braised pork cheeks. A tough cut of meat cooked slowly in liquid until beautifully tender.
Hey everyone! How are we? I would like to talk about something that I believe will be great for all of us, cutting down on meat. That is if you are someone who feels the need to have it all the time. And yes, I do realise this may seem hypocritical due to the fact that this post is about braised pork cheeks, a meat recipe. However, pork cheeks aren’t all that popular of a cut, at least not in Western society.
This is the first time I have ever cooked pork cheeks, and the experience showed me just how much we can take the usual cuts of meat for granted. slow cooked pork cheeks are incredible and I encourage you to try getting your hands on it. According to my research and again, my experience. It is best to braise pork cheeks. Meaning, cook slowly in liquid. This is important because as you can imagine with the cheek, the muscle always works when chewing. So it’s actually quite tough, and tough meat needs to be cooked low and slow.
I went with the classic apple and pork combo by using apple cider, but any liquid works well with braising. Ingredients like red wine and tomato passata will give a stronger and richer flavour. Whereas white wine, cider and chicken stock will give a lighter flavour. So experiment and perhaps try to come up with your own unique style.
Braised pork cheeks make the best comfort food and I highly recommend that you try cooking them. Also, I am hoping that this post can inspire someone. Maybe even another food blogger who reads this post, to try and use cuts of meat that aren’t deemed to be as popular. And maybe that can open up your mind to a new experience, which I think is something we ought to do when it comes to food.
Love you all and have an awesome day!!
Braised Pork Cheeks
- 4 pork cheeks
- 2 tablespoons of plain flour (gluten free flour if you're gluten free)
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 2 onions peeled and sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- 165 ml apple cider
- 750 ml chicken stock approx
- A few sprigs of thyme
- A few sprigs of rosemary
- 2 bay leafs
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 F).
If your pork cheeks have a lot of fat surrounding the meat, trim most of it off because your dish will end up being too greasy.
Put the flour in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add your pork cheeks and coat them in the flour.
Heat up a deep oven-proof frying pan or a pot on high heat, add your vegetable oil, get your pork cheeks and shake off any excess flour, then add your place the in the pan. Brown on for 2-3 minutes on both sides until you get a lovely golden colour.
Once the pork cheeks are well coloured, remove from the pan and transfer to a plate. Turn the heat down on the stove to about medium heat, then add your sliced onions. Fry until translucent, then add your garlic and fry for a further minute, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add your balsamic vinegar and your apple cider. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Reduce the cider for about 5 minutes until thick.
Return the pork cheeks back to the pot, then add just enough stock to almost cover the pork cheeks about 3 quarters of the way up. Then, add your thyme, rosemary and bay leaves.
Put in the oven and cook for 2 hours.
Once you have cooked the pork cheeks, remove them from the pot/pan, then transfer to a plate and cover them with foil. Also, now would be a good time to discard the rosemary, thyme and bay leaves.
Put the pan back on the stove (remember it use a tea-towel or mittens to protect your hands) and then continue to simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened. If you see any fat floating on top, skim it off with a spoon or a ladle.
Once the sauce is done, shred or slice the pork if you want and then serve.
- Remember, if there is too much fat on the pork cheeks, trim it off.