Absolutely wonderful things are the humble pig cheeks, full of delicious flavours, cheap as chips, cooked well are utterly sublime

I was wandering aimlessly around my local supermarket I spotted these beauties, and bought them, more out of the shock of actually seeing them in a supermarket!!

So this recipe has really been thought up whilst wandering around the supermarket! Goes totally against everything I have ever said! So I’ll apologise now………..

Shopping list

1 onion

1 carrot

½ garlic bulb

1 fennel bulb

2 Braeburn apples

600g pig cheeks

a splash of rapeseed oil

10 sage leaves

2 bay leaves

330ml Bottle of Cumbrian ale

2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

250ml chicken stock

½ – 1 tbsp honey (to taste)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C.

2. Peel and finely chop the onion and carrot. Halve the garlic bulb

3. Halve the fennel and thinly slice it. Peel and core the apples. Cut each in to 8 slices.

4. Heat a medium sized heavy based casserole dish. Rub some oil in to the pigs cheeks.

5. place them into the hot pan. Cook for 4 mins on each side until lightly browned. Lift out on to a plate and set aside

6. Add the fennel slices to the pan. Place the garlic bulb cut side down. Cook for 3-5 mins till golden and slightly caramelised. Remove from the pan and place onto the plate with the pig’s cheeks.

7. Now Add the onion and carrot. Cook on a gentle heat for 5 mins till softened. Add the apples, sage leaves and bay leaves. Cook for a couple of mins. Add the pig’s cheeks, fennel and garlic.

8. Pour in the beer. Spoon in the mustard. Bring to a bubble then add the chicken stock. Bring everything to a gentle simmer. Pop on a lid. Slide into the oven for 2 ½ hours.

9. Carefully Remove the pigs cheeks and Cover with foil to rest.

10. Place the pan on a medium heat and reduce the cooking liquor by half. This could take about half an hour. Taste and season. Add ½-1 tbsp honey.

11. Pop the pig’s cheeks back into the pan and warm through

12. Serve the pig’s cheeks with creamy potato and celeriac mash, buttered greens Spoon over the flavourful beer, apple & mustard gravy.

Happy cooking

Jon

Written by Jon Fell

Head Chef Rosehill Theatre, Chef on the Simply Good Food TV app, run a Seafood Cookery Class at Peter Sidwell Cookery School, Newspaper food columnist

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