Slow cooking ensures the pigs cheeks aren’t tough and gives the fat time to render out, so they’re meltingly tender. To maximize flavour, sear your pigs cheeks in a frying pan first until they’re golden all over, and then slow cook them until they’re just on the brink of falling apart.
As pork is classically paired with apple, cider makes a great braising liquor, but you could also use white wine with stock, or red wine with a tin of tomatoes.
olive oil, for frying
1 large onion, finely chopped
600g pork cheeks, excess fat trimmed and cut in half
1 tbsp flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
150ml medium dry sherry
500ml beef stock
a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
100g toasted flaked almond
Heat 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan then add the onion. Cook gently for 10 – 15 minutes until softened and lightly coloured. Remove and set aside.
Toss the cheeks in the seasoned flour. Add a little more oil to the pan and turn up the heat. Brown the pork cheeks all over in batches. Turn the heat down to medium.
Return all the pork and the reserved onions to the pan. Add the garlic, cumin and paprika and cook for a minute, then pour in the sherry. Use your spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan and mix in all the flavours.
Pour in the beef stock then bring the pan to a simmer. Simmer gently for 2 hours or until the cheeks are tender.
Scatter with parsley leaves and flaked almonds. Serve with rice or buttery mashed potato.