Pork cheeks braised with orange rind and red wine.

For someone who lives alone the recipe that follows might look too long to bother with, but really, braising is a habit that is worth getting into if you live alone. Slow braised meats freeze well, and there´s a lot you can do with braised meat – shred them into tacos, eat them over pasta, add spices and chocolate to the leftovers and make an impromptu chilli. A good braise is something that you can live off for a week without getting bored.

After  last week’s success with the pork loin I was feeling pretty cocky in the supermarket today. So cocky in fact that I came home with these:

Pig cheeks. Pork shoulder is quite similar, but if you can get hold of them try the cheeks.

Serves 2-3

500 gm pork cheeks (or shoulder)

1 1/2 cups red wine

1/2 fat onion

1/2 large carrot or 1 small

1/2  tomato

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

2 cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

1/2 stick cinnamon

2-3 sprigs thyme

2-3 sprigs rosemary

10 (or so) olives, (preferably black, with stone in)

1 star anise

1 orange

1 anchovy

3-4 tbsp oil (olive, sunflower, whatever you have lying around)

Place the meat in a freezer bag with the red wine, seal and allow to marinate for as long as possible -preferably a day. The next day drain the meat, reserving the marinade. Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper. Heat your pan over high heat, add the olive oil and  sear the meat,   put aside. Cut the onions lengthwise into half, and slice finely.  Finely dice the carrot and fry the vegetables in the olive oil over a medium high heat until browned. When the veggies are well browned add the stock and marinade, boil until reduced by half. While reducing finely dice the tomato, peel a large piece of rind off the orange using a vegetable peeler and crush the garlic with the blade of a knife. Return the meat to the pan, along with all the remaining ingredients except the olives. Season very lightly with a little salt.  Cover tightly,  and simmer gently over very low heat for 3 hours, adding the olives for the last 45 minutes. After the 3 hours are up, drain the meat and pass the sauce through a sieve or colander to  fish out all the bits from the sauce, reserve the olives. Return the sauce to the pan and boil hard until you reach your desired consistency, check the seasoning and serve with meat and olives.

I  reduced the sauce by half, while shredding half the meat. I added some reduced sauce to the shredded meat and olives and had it with pasta. The rest of the sauce I reduced until thicker, poured over the meat, topped with a little grated orange rind and ate with mashed potatoes.

2 Responses to “Pork cheeks braised with orange rind and red wine.”
  1. Erin says:

    Your photos are gorgeous! I just love those bowls 🙂

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