Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Cider-braised Pig Cheeks with Apples #FoodieExtravaganza

These cider-braised pig cheeks with apples are a triumph of slow cooking at its tender-making best. Both the pork and the apples are melt in your mouth delicious, a perfect bowl of Autumn on a chilly day.

Food Lust People Love: These cider-braised pig cheeks with apples are a triumph of slow cooking at its tender-making best. Both the pork and the apples are melt in your mouth delicious, a perfect bowl of Autumn on a chilly day. For the two tart apples, use a variety like Granny Smith or, if you are so fortunate, Cox’s Orange Pippin. The two sweeter apples can be whichever you prefer for eating straight out of your hand, for instance, Royal Gala or Red Delicious . If you don’t have pork stock (or a pork stock cube to dissolve in water), you can substitute chicken or vegetable stock.


I’ve been reading about pig cheeks for ages, without every actually coming across any. Apparently, along with their bovine counterpart, pig cheeks became a trendy cut for chefs, presumably originally, because they were inexpensive, yet divine when treated properly, that is to say, cooked long and slow. Well, like all ingredients that become trendy – I’m looking at you, oxtail and marrow bones – the price goes up.

Imagine my delight then, to find a package labeled “Pig Cheeks” in the frozen section of the pork department in my Dubai grocery store. And it was relatively affordable.

Cider-braised Pig Cheeks with Apples

For the two tart apples, use a variety like Granny Smith or, if you are so fortunate, Cox’s Orange Pippin. The two sweeter apples can be whichever you prefer for eating straight out of your hand, for instance, Royal Gala or Red Delicious . If you don’t have pork stock (or a pork stock cube to dissolve in water), you can substitute chicken or vegetable stock. This recipe is adapted from one of Nigel Slater’s in his Guardian newspaper column.

Ingredients
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2.2 lbs or 1 kg pigs’ cheeks, cut in chunks
4 medium sized red onions
4 apples - 2 tart, 2 sweet
2 1/2 cups or 600ml pork stock
1 large can dry cider 440ml – I recommend Strongbow
Flat leaf parsley to garnish

Method
Warm the oil in a large Dutch oven over a moderate to high heat. Sprinkle the pigs’ cheeks with salt and pepper, then brown then in the oil. You will have to do this in batches, removing the browned pork to a bowl as you go.



Pig cheeks, or I should say, the pig cheeks available in Dubai (imported from Kenya) are very fatty. Nigel doesn’t mention this at all so perhaps my so-called pig cheeks were some other fattier cut, but never mind. Once the fat is rendered, we are going to pour it off and continue apace.

While the cheeks are browning, peel the onions, quarter them then cut them into thick slices.



Once all of your cubed cheeks are golden, pour off most of the rendered fat. Turn the heat down and add the onions to the pot. Sauté them until soft and translucent.



Preheat your oven to 325°F or 163°C.

Once the onions are tender, remove the Dutch oven from the stove. Add the cubed pig cheeks to the pot and give the whole thing a stir.



Cut the apples into quarters, removing the cores as you go. Add them to the Dutch oven and top with the stock and the cider.

Food Lust People Love: These cider-braised pig cheeks with apples are a triumph of slow cooking at its tender-making best. Both the pork and the apples are melt in your mouth delicious, a perfect bowl of Autumn on a chilly day. For the two tart apples, use a variety like Granny Smith or, if you are so fortunate, Cox’s Orange Pippin. The two sweeter apples can be whichever you prefer for eating straight out of your hand, for instance, Royal Gala or Red Delicious . If you don’t have pork stock (or a pork stock cube to dissolve in water), you can substitute chicken or vegetable stock.


Put the pot back on the stove. Over a medium flame, bring the liquid to a quick boil. Remove from the stove, pop the lid on tightly and put the pot in the preheated oven.

Braise the cheeks, covered, for 2 1/2 hours, stirring them gently, and checking the liquid level about half way through. Add a little water if they look like they are going dry.

When your cooking time is up, remove the lid and bake the cheeks uncovered for about 20-30 minutes or until the liquid is lovely and spoon-able, like a good stew - not too thin.

Check the seasoning, adding a little more salt and pepper, if needed.

Sprinkle with some chopped parsley for garnish. Serve in warmed bowls, making sure every one gets some pork, onion and apple in each.

Enjoy!

Food Lust People Love: These cider-braised pig cheeks with apples are a triumph of slow cooking at its tender-making best. Both the pork and the apples are melt in your mouth delicious, a perfect bowl of Autumn on a chilly day. For the two tart apples, use a variety like Granny Smith or, if you are so fortunate, Cox’s Orange Pippin. The two sweeter apples can be whichever you prefer for eating straight out of your hand, for instance, Royal Gala or Red Delicious . If you don’t have pork stock (or a pork stock cube to dissolve in water), you can substitute chicken or vegetable stock.

Check out the other apple recipes my Foodie Extravaganza group is sharing today. Many thanks to our host, Kelley from Simply Inspired Meals.

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays by cooking and baking together with the same ingredient or theme each month.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you're a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board!

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Food Lust People Love: These cider-braised pig cheeks with apples are a triumph of slow cooking at its tender-making best. Both the pork and the apples are melt in your mouth delicious, a perfect bowl of Autumn on a chilly day. For the two tart apples, use a variety like Granny Smith or, if you are so fortunate, Cox’s Orange Pippin. The two sweeter apples can be whichever you prefer for eating straight out of your hand, for instance, Royal Gala or Red Delicious . If you don’t have pork stock (or a pork stock cube to dissolve in water), you can substitute chicken or vegetable stock.
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