You must have realised by now that I am rather partial to pig cheeks. I love the way that the muscle and gristle melt into a lovely gelatinous nugget after long slow cooking, and the rich flavour of the pork can cope with all kinds of additional flavours. There is a huge interest in Spanish cooking at the moment, heightened by the excitement of the lovely Jose Pizarro opening his first ‘proper’ restaurant in Bermondsey Street. I went to Andalucia several years ago and was bowled over by the food – tapas in bars in Seville, wandering from one to another…tiny deep fried octopi, melting jamon, unctuous crocqettas…and then there were the main courses. At one meal I had half a roast milk fed lamb. I should have felt guilty, as the kidney was the size of a teaspoon, but the flesh was incredibly tender and flavoursome. I ate it all.
So, what to do with a pack of pig cheeks in my freezer? I also had some cooking chorizo knocking about so it seemed obvious. The result was served with some long stem broccoli and a bit of bread to clean the dish – it was all very flavoursome…
1 tblsp. olive oil
I onion, finely sliced in half moons
Clove garlic crushed
500g pig cheeks, silvery sinew removed, cut into three
150g cooking chorizo, cut into chunks
1 tin butter beans, drained
500ml chicken stock
Splash of wine
Heat the olive oil in a saute pan, add the garlic and onions and cook gently until golden. Add the pig cheeks, turn up the heat slightly and brown them off. They don’t have to be too brown, just have a little colour. Add the chorizo and continue cooking until the chunks are a little crisp round the edges.
Add the beans, chicken stock and wine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. You may need to remove the lid for the last 30 minutes to reduce the sauce down a little, and you can also crush a couple of beans into the sauce if you need to thicken it more.
Spoon into 2 bowls, sprinkle over the parsley, serve with a green vegetable and some bread.