Recipe For Braised Pork Cheeks

To me, the most important factor when shopping is buying regional produce. We are very fortunate in South Africa that our local Woolworths lets us know where the produce comes from. To that end I always buy fruit and vegetables that are labelled as being from South Africa. Of course, if I had any influence I would ask them to be more area specific as I live in farming country and would like to support my local farmers. But, at least I know that the fresh produce I buy is seasonal and that is the second most important factor to me. It is only after this that I look our for organic produce. That is the bonus factor to me and not the be all and end all of my shopping. When it comes to protein I want to know that the animal led a happy life. I buy our chicken from a local, free range chicken farm, and our venison from the local butcher. The venison is shot by the owner and hung and butchered properly. These pork cheeks came from Martin who owns Cure Deli. The quality is amazing, the price is perfect and the pigs have been treated with love before ending up on my plate. Given the success we had with making a pork belly in master stock I decided to do the same with the pork cheeks. I am not sure how easy they are to get hold of where you live, but do ask your butcher as I am sure he would be willing to help.

Do you eat regional and seasonal produce?

Braised Pork Cheeks
Braised Pork Cheeks

Braised Pork Cheeks

Author: Adapted from Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course page 189

Ingredients

  • 2 kg pork cheeks I used 5
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 6 baby fennel bulbs thickly sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass bruised and split in half lengthwise
  • 2 garlic cloves lightly crushed
  • 5 mls cardamom pods crushed
  • 2.5 mls whole cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2.5 cm fresh root ginger thickly sliced
  • 15 mls olive oil
  • 125 mls white wine
  • 750 mls master stock

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 160° Celsius

for the pork cheeks

  • Score the fat of the pork cheeks using a sharp knife
  • Place the pork cheeks into a cold roasting pan
  • Render the fat over a low heat for an hour
  • Remove from the pan and drain off the lard
  • Place back in the pan for another hour
  • Remove and set aside
  • Drain off the lard

for the lard

  • Place a coffee filter into a funnel
  • Place the funnel over a sterilized glass jar
  • Pour the lard into the funnel
  • Leave to cool before sealing and placing into the fridge

to braise

  • Season the skin of the pork cheeks
  • Pour the oil into the pan and increase the heat
  • When hot, add the fennel, lemongrass, garlic, cardamom, cloves, star anise, and ginger
  • Cook until you can smell the spices
  • Deglaze the pan with the white wine
  • Add the pork cheeks skin side up
  • Add the master stock making sure the skin is above the stock
  • Bring to a boil and then place into the oven and bake for an hour and 30 minutes
  • Remove the pan from the oven
  • Remove the pork cheeks and set aside to rest before serving

to keep the master stock

  • Remove the excess fat
  • Strain through a chinois and discard the aromatics
  • Bring to the boil and pour off some to serve with the pork cheeks
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Top up with water to 750mls and leave to cool
  • Freeze until needed

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21 thoughts on “Recipe For Braised Pork Cheeks

  1. I’m passionate about buying and cooking locally and seasonally – it makes you so much more aware of what’s in season and what’s available in your area – so agree with you about organic, Tandy. OMG – those pork cheeks look fab – I have been wanting to cook them for ages but unfortunately have not been able to find them – yet!

  2. That’s so great that your local store tells you where all your produce is from. I try to buy local, but it’s not always easy in these New England winters! These pork cheeks look so delicious!

    1. I would love to buy more of my meat locally as we live close to sheep farms. But, they don’t sell directly to the public 🙂

  3. I would love to try pork cheeks. I’m sure they were luscious and melting. I can’t sat I’ve ever seen them but have definitely had them at restaurants. I’ll have to see what my butcher says. I have a similar philosphy to you. First and foremost Australian and normally quite easy to do as we have a wide brown land to grow things in! Having said that, yes, it must be seasonal. A red flag about overseas imports is when you see things like cherries in the middle of our Winter. You don’t even need to look at the label to know they are from the USA. Organic is good but not always possible. I am very strict on not bringing palm oil into the house anymore. All spreads and biscuits must now be palm oil free. We are moving to other palm oil free products as we use things up. I will bookmark your recip for when I can hunt down pork cheeks – though it looks like a recipe for next winter now. Cheers xx

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