Salthouse's slow-cooked pork cheeks

Salthouse Pork Cheeks

Until a few years ago pork cheeks were a little-known treasure; cook them low and slow and they are heavenly. They were mainly used for brawn (or pig’s head terrine), which is made by cooking the head whole for a long period of time and setting with ancient ingredients like aspic. It was a dish which originated from peasant’s food as it was a cheap source of protein and had a very reasonable yield. There is another traditional way of eating them known as Bath chaps. This is where the cheeks are brined for a couple of days, then slow cooked, cooled, battered and deep fried.

In modern cookery cheeks are generally used as an element of a dish where there are a few different types of pork. We have them on our menu with pork fillet, and occasionally when the weather is cold and you need something hearty and warming, we serve them on their own with a starch and some veg.

The way we’ve had them on of late (and quite possibly my favourite thing to eat when it’s cold) is with some whole grain mustard mash, some sticky red cabbage and some kale. 

If the cheeks have not been cleaned by your undoubtedly friendly butcher then they will need some trimming. There is usually a thin bit of skin on the back that needs taking off, sometimes there is a little piece of firmer tissue on the inner piece. Take these both off – neither will braise very well.

For two wholesome filling dishes you will need:

 

METHOD:

The cheeks will require around 3 hours to cook on a low heat. You’ll know when they’re done as they will almost fall apart. Once you have reached this stage you need to remove them and the veg from the pan, keeping the liquor. Pop this on a high heat, what we want to achieve is a thick and glossy sauce.

As I mentioned – we’ve been serving them with some mash, red cabbage and kale. I won’t tell you how to make mash (for starters everyone’s method is different) and red cabbage is not for everyone.

Simply served with greens, mash and the sticky sauce, pork cheeks will make you a very popular person with whoever you decide to share them with!

Enjoy!

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