I honestly believe that pork cheeks are one of the most under-rated cuts of pork. They are so versatile, and the great thing about them is they are not only cheap, but they break down so quickly. You don’t need to slow cook it for hours and hours, they turn into the most delicate, tender meat within an hour or so.
This recipe is super warming and just so comforting, like a hug in a bowl! It’s based on one that my mum used to make us, but it was originally meant to be rabbit, and having had pet rabbits in the past, I changed my version up to suit my personal tastes. This recipe is honestly so bloody good. I highly recommend it, do NOT be scared of the pork cheeks. I get mine from my favourite, Donald Butchers.
Pork Cheek Casserole with Mustard Mash
Ingredients (serves 4)
75ml dry sherry
4 rashers streaky bacon, roughly chopped
2 tsp olive oil
Small knob unsalted butter
500g pork cheeks
1 banana shallot, finely diced
30g plain flour
200ml white wine
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
A few sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
350ml chicken stock
100ml double cream
Salt and pepper
For the mash:
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1. Preheat the oven to 160c (fan). Put the prunes in a small saucepan with the sherry. Bring to the boil, then set aside. Meanwhile, melt the butter and olive oil in a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-high heat. Brown the pork cheeks on all sides in the hot oil/butter, then place in a casserole dish.
2. To the same pan, add the chopped streaky bacon and cook until crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon and add to the casserole dish with the pork cheeks.
3. Add the diced shallot to the frying pan and cook for a few minutes until soft, then sprinkle over the flour and stir to form a paste. Pour in the white wine and let it reduce, stirring regularly to prevent the mixture from clumping together, add in the mustard, bay leaf and thyme, stir to combine, then add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then pour it all into the casserole dish. Put the lid on, then cook in the oven for 1.5 hours, or until the pork is tender.
4. Meanwhile, make the mash! Peel your potatoes and cut them into rough chunks. Add to a pan of salted boiling water and cook until tender, then drain. Return to the pan and mash until smooth, then add the butter, milk and mustard. Mix together on a very low heat until smooth and combined, then add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Once the meat is tender, add the double cream and the sherry-soaked prunes. Taste and add salt and pepper if it needs it. Serve the casserole with the mustard mash and feel like you are sitting in front of a warm fire on a cold winter day.