Braised pork cheeks recipe

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  • Yield: 4 Servings


For the Pork Cheeks
  • 2 pounds pork cheeks, trimmed of any surface sinew or fat
  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) olive oil
  • 1 bacon slice, preferably applewood-smoked
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 5 ounces sliced button mushrooms or mushroom stems
  • 1 large sprig of fresh tarragon
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) honey
  • 2 teaspoons (1 ounce) Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) olorosa or cream sherry
  • 4 cups (1 quart) Light Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) Veal Demi-Glace
For the Pudding
  • 1½ cups (12 ounces) Light Chicken Stock
  • 6 ounces light rye bread (likely about 4 slices), cut or torn in 1-inch pieces, toasted
  • ½ cup corn kernels, chopped (to release more of their milk and starch)
  • 1 cooked bacon slice, preferably applewood-smoked, minced
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, whisked together
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallots
  • ¼ teaspoon roasted garlic puree, optional
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper
For the Endive-Radish Salad
  • 1 large head Belgian endive, julienned
  • ½ watermelon radish, peeled and julienned
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
How to Make It
    To Prepare the Pork Cheeks
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Season the pork cheeks with salt and pepper.
  2. Place a Dutch oven or medium roasting pan on the stovetop and add the oil and bacon. Cook over medium heat until the bacon becomes translucent.
  3. Add the pork cheeks, and sear them until nicely brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the cheeks from the pan, placing them on a plate.
  4. Add the vegetables, tarragon, honey, and mustard to the pan. Continue cooking until the mixture is golden brown and the water has evaporated from the honey.
  5. Pour in the sherry and cook briefly until the mixture is almost dry.
  6. Add the stock and demi-glace and bring to a boil. Add the pork cheeks back into the pan, cover, and transfer to the oven. Bake 2½ – 3 hours, until the cheek meat shreds apart easily.
  7. Remove the cheeks from the pan, placing the meat on another plate. Put the pan back on the stovetop and simmer the braising liquid to a medium-bodied sauce consistency. Degrease the sauce. Return the cheeks to the sauce and cover to keep warm.
  8. To Prepare the Bread Pudding
  9. While the pork cheeks bake, prepare the bread pudding. Stir together the ingredients in a large bowl, then let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes for more of the liquid to absorb into the bread.
  10. Give the mixture another good stir and spoon into four 8-ounce ramekins, mounding the pudding up in the center of each.
  11. When the pork cheeks are finished cooking, raise the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake the bread puddings for 25–30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and crisp. Let them sit for several minutes, then remove the pudding from the ramekins.
  12. To Prepare the Endive-Radish Salad
  13. Combine the ingredients in a small bowl.
  14. To Steam the Clams
  15. In a medium saucepan, combine the clams, stock, wine, butter, shallot, garlic, and chile flakes. Cover and cook over medium heat about 6–10 minutes, until the clams pop open. Discard any clams that haven’t opened after 10 minutes. Stir in the tarragon and taste the broth. Add salt and pepper as you wish.
  16. Putting it all Together
  17. Place 3–4 pieces of the braised cheeks on each of 4 plates. Add a bread pudding to one side of the meat. Drizzle the cheeks’ braising sauce over the cheeks and the bread pudding. Spoon a pair of clams in the shell over the cheeks. Add the salad to the plates, garnish with leaves, and serve right away.

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