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I know there is a thread on here about Cured Pork Chaps but the pork cheeks that I am referring to are the small trimmed version about the size of a three year olds fist.

I bought a pack from Morrisons who are selling all manner of offally stuff long forgotten but enjoying a bit of a revival. My wife was a bit tired of my spate of Beef cheeks, Blade of Beef dishes,etc, especially as the last one was not trimmed (of fat) to her satisfaction. So I froze them and forgot about them till yesterday.

I remembered that I had a pigs cheek dish at Michelin Galvin at Windows and really enjoyed it so I searched the web for a similar one.

The one that caught my eye was a Mark Sargeant recipe. Now considering he recently appeared on Saturday Kitchen and held a Michelin star at Clariges working for Gordon Ramsay I figured it was worth a punt.

I followed the recipe for the cheeks but did not put so much honey in. I had no apples or swede to hand so I cooked savoy cabbage with bacon and cream, some carrots (mainly for colour) and some buttery mashed potatoes using my heavy duty ricer.

The end result was smashing even though I say it myself. The cheeks were melt in the mouth, the sauce had a great depth of flavour and not too sweet at all (as I had cut down on the honey) the cabbage and mash went well and my wife praised my efforts.

What more can you ask for.

On reflection next time I may cut down on the cloves a bit.

Can't remember how much the cheeks were but seem to think they were about a couple of pounds or even less. Well worth seeking out they tasted great.

http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/586366

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They sell those little beauties at Waitrose very cheaply too. They're great salted overnight and put into a cassoulet. Cheeks rule, apart from cow and pig, any other fat faced animals out there?

Panda's are chubby cheeked, but are they protected? :laugh:

I bet Heston will come up with a Pork Cheeks recipe for Waitrose, no doubt with a cone of thrice cooked chips, followed with bacon and egg ice cream, just to continue the pork theme of course.

Delia, the famous casserole queen, may just offer her take on them.

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Deep fried bluefish cheeks are a thing of great beauty and posses a flavor that will keep you coming back for more.

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There are no Waitrose branches where I live which is a bit of a shame, as I am a fan.

As their core business is London and environs, its understandable I suppose.

I tried their store checker and there is a small store about twenty five miles away, but thats too many food miles for me, for a small quantity of food.

So, back to Morrisons, where the young butcher is filling the shelves and directs me to the pork cheeks. Interestingly enough they now have trotters by the score in my store also, but I will wait a bit before I try the Pierre Koffmann recipe. I just know mine is going to be rubbish in comparison.

We strike up a conversation about cheeks, trotters, et al and he shares his recipe with me, which is simple but effective.

Trim cheeks to remove any fat or membrane, cut in half lengthwise, dip in beaten egg, coat with parmesan cheese, season with salt and black pepper and gently fry until crisp and golden. (season first really).

I just tried the one out of interest and it was surpringly tender but still a bit chewy in places. I will most certainly try this again as it is so quick. On reflection I should have flattened them with my hammer and this would tenderise them and even out the meat a bit more.

A pack of four was £1-10, and a pack of six £1-80 and not a lot of waste on them either.

I can understand why chefs use them so much, all that flavour in such a cheap cut of meat.

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It seems there's only one recipe for them - the one I use is a Gordon Ramsay one involving honey and cloves and is as you say delicious and not too sweet. I've also tried it with star anise. Curiously I am in Cornwall on holiday at the moment and the very good traditional butcher nearby tells me their abbatoir cannot sell animals' heads so no he couldn't do me any cheeks.

He compensated by selling me a slice off the rump steak some of which he was cooking for his tea that night. Gosh it was good...

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This has reminded me that I have 4 of them in the freezer

Which I picked up as a "bargain" from morrisons - given a glut of broadbeans i am going to try this recipe http://www.waitrose.com/recipe/Pork_Cheeks_with_Apple_and_Broad_Beans.aspx

That recipe reads very well, a common theme seems to be the honey, and of course the classic apple addition.

The only risk in this sort of publicity is as time goes by, Morrisons et al will be short of the beloved cheeks, sadly. :sad:

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It seems there's only one recipe for them - the one I use is a Gordon Ramsay one involving honey and cloves and is as you say delicious and not too sweet. I've also tried it with star anise. Curiously I am in Cornwall on holiday at the moment and the very good traditional butcher nearby tells me their abbatoir cannot sell animals' heads so no he couldn't do me any cheeks.

He compensated by selling me a slice off the rump steak some of which he was cooking for his tea that night. Gosh it was good...

I'm looking forward to cooking this dish again, the honey or sweetness from, propels the taste upwards.

Interesting you should mention your butcher being unable to supply you with cheeks, mine is the same and also my local abbatior. It seems only some butchers (Morrisons inc) can sell the head meat. Never thought to ask why,

Do they have to have a special licence?

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So I cooked these earlier today

Swapped out the white wine for dry cider and a good splash of cider vinegar (seemed like a good idea at the time), and ditched the white balsamic as I had none,

Swapped the honey for some maple syrup (it was on offer at ALDI classy) upped the broad beans which I shelled as I dislike the skins.

Served in bowls with some bread as a starter for todays pigfest where they were followed by a baked ham and mashed potatoes.

Clean plates all round - the star anise really comes through and the beans hold it all together.

We drank the same cider with the meal which worked ;)

My partner felt they were a touch sweet for her taste but I was really pleased at how tender the meat was, I'll definitely do them again.


Edited by codheadred (log)

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No David they don't need a special licence - it is economics. A small abattoir sells their pigs as a whole or half carcase they then get the same price for the head as they do for the legs etc. Only a bacon factory will bother removing the head meat - it is hardly economicaly viable with the mimium wage as it is today. At one time Bowyers bacon factory had a line of about 30 head boners all paid a pittance - the meat would go into pies etc. One factory I know would sell all its pig heads to the local circus for the lions! :biggrin:

Sainsburys have their own bacon factorys in East Anglia you might get them in the Sainsburys over there but I expect they all go into manufacturing.

All the tales you get told are because butchers can't be bothered with them, they are not worth the effort. :sad:


Edited by Pam Brunning (log)

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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Thanks for that insight Pam, a very good explanation as to why they are not available more readily.

As an aside we had Pork cheeks a la Bryn Williams at his restaurant Odettes at the weekend. You may remember Bryn won a Great British Menu with one of his dishes, which we also tried, will write it up soon hopefully.

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Thanks for that insight Pam, a very good explanation as to why they are not available more readily.

As an aside we had Pork cheeks a la Bryn Williams at his restaurant Odettes at the weekend. You may remember Bryn won a Great British Menu with one of his dishes, which we also tried, will write it up soon hopefully.

If you are ever in the camden area again - its worth checking out the restaurant Market. Their slow cooked pork cheeks and morcilla is an absolute beaut.

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Sad to say probably all head meat is coming from Poland labour is a lot cheaper out there, all our pig head boners will be on benefits :hmmm:


Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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I have just been told by John Lewis Oxford Street that their pigs cheeks have a Union Jack on the packet which should mean they are reared here - but I suspect that my local butcher's may not as they are originally frozen.

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A Union Jack just means they were packed in the UK :hmmm:


Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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Thanks for that insight Pam, a very good explanation as to why they are not available more readily.

As an aside we had Pork cheeks a la Bryn Williams at his restaurant Odettes at the weekend. You may remember Bryn won a Great British Menu with one of his dishes, which we also tried, will write it up soon hopefully.

If you are ever in the camden area again - its worth checking out the restaurant Market. Their slow cooked pork cheeks and morcilla is an absolute beaut.

Thanks for the recommend, I,m always on the look out for my next good meal :smile:

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Pam (and others concerned about the welfare of animals that they eat)I raised with Waitrose your point about whether the cheeks were simply packed in UK. I have just received the following email from Waitrose:

Dear [Ms PSB]

I can confirm that Waitrose Pork comes from British farmers that exclusively supply Waitrose. All of the Pork is reared naturally by a small group of farmers mainly based in east Anglia.

We sell two types of pork on the service counter and both are free range. The Hampshire breed which comes from pigs sired from Hampshire Bores, which are a traditional breed famous for there tender succulent meat. They are reared on just three farms, where they spend most of there time in open fields, with access to huts with straw bedding for shelter in winter and shade in the Summer. The other type of Free Range pork on sale on the service counter is the Berkshire Pork. This is a type of pork that is only sold in a small number of our branches and is supplied by just one farmer George Gittus, who recently received an award for outstanding quality.

I hope this information is helpful to you and fully answers your question.


Edited by PoppySeedBagel (log)

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The Mark Sargeant recipe that I use is now such a doddle to do, it comes as second nature to get it done and into the slow cooker on medium heat to devour later, or the next day.

I have now tweaked it to my wifes taste as she does not like it quite so sweet.

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As the weather forecasters said it was going to be the last day of summer today we went for lunch on the Thames at Boulters Inn at Maidenhead. Lovely day, super lunch and guess what for main course - pork cheek.

Lovely starter (I forgot to get a picture) of tarragon panacotta with black tomato salad. This was followed by pork cheek with champ, and bacon sauce, it was delicious. I would think it was sous vide and could have come from 3663.

100_0926.JPG

Pud was chocolate mousse and malted ice cream - all excellent. :biggrin:

100_0927.JPG


Edited by Pam Brunning (log)

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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I have now tweaked it to my wifes taste as she does not like it quite so sweet.

Care to offer the tweaked recipe, David?

I assume some sweetness is still required but, like Mrs G, I don't like my savouries overly sweet.

Made a rare visit to Morrisons today and picked up two packs of four (less than a quid each).


John Hartley

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John, we are on the same wavelength it would appear. I took a 350 gram pack out of the freezer last night to naturally thaw out.

A pack of four from Morrisons at £1.30 they are a bit larger than the norm and if they were a touch smaller three each would be just about right for big eaters like the Mrs and I. They are however rich and filling so we can manage on two each.

The recipe does suggest 700 grams of Pork but I just use the above quantity but keep the veg about the same quantity but mostly substituting the onion for leeks or a mixture of the two.

I have two large pots of thyme growing outside. The larger one is Lemon Thyme which I adore and I mix the two, doubling up the recipe quantity. It works for me.

There is no mention in the recipe about trimming the cheeks, but all you need to do is take the sheath of skin which covers one side, off, very much in the manner of skinning fish. The white connective tissue running through the cheeks can be left untouched as this melts to nothing during the cooking process.

The honey can be reduced right down, 200ml poured into a measuring jug is an awful lot. I reduce this down to about two tablespoons of honey with no loss of flavour. This perhaps equates to about a quarter of the stated amount.

Cloves are again a matter of personal taste I tend to use a smaller amount which helps when I come to fish them out when the dish is cooked, as I am not keen on chewing on them when we eat the dish.

The initial cooking is done on the stove, after which I transfer it to a slow cooker (its cooking now) turned to medium. It barely bubbles on this heat and I cook it for four or five hours sometimes a little longer.

We love the resulting dish which we serve with in season creamy swede or fluffy mash and a nice green veg for a balance of colour.

As a footnote you may have to reduce your stock a bit to thicken it, do this by taking out the cheeks and most of the veg and boil it down. I never throw the veg away they hold a massive amount of flavour and add bulk and texture to the end result.

Hope this helps,

Happy eating :wink:

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Thanks, David. I'll report back in due course. I may be some time.....herself has declared that we are to lose weight and generally eat much less red meat. I have tried to argue, unsuccessfully, that pork isnt red meat but more yer beige. I sneaked these into the trolley while she was looking at lettuce or something. :laugh:


John Hartley

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Well, I finally got round to making these a few weeks back. Lovely stuff - and cutting down the honey to 2 tablespoons is spot on - I reckon the full amount would be waaaaay over the top.

J


John Hartley

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