ork cheeks are such a delight to braise slowly in wine. After 3 hours quietly stewing they are pleasingly tender with a melt in the mouth texture. Beautiful served atop something creamy and comforting like some garlicy mash potato but I love the sweetness of the parsnips here and their velvety texture.
You can get pork cheeks at any good butcher and they are cheap as chips but are such a show stopper! If you can only get hold of ox cheeks, you can use the same recipe just upping the cooking time to 5-6 hours and adding more stock/wine – they are about 10 times the size after all. Two ox cheeks will easily feed 4 unlike pork cheeks where I usually allow 2-3 per person.
- 12 pork cheeks
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 carrot
- 6 banana shallots, finely chop 2, cut the others into halves.
- 2 sticks celery
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked
- 400ml red wine (roughly – I didn’t measure)
- 1 beef stock cube
- Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped to serve
- 500g parsnips
- 1 bay leaf
- 200ml milk
- Heat the oven to 160 degrees and get a large casserole dish on the hob over a medium heat and add a splash of olive oil and heat.
- Coat the pork cheeks in the flour and some salt and pepper and dust off the excess. Add them to the pan and brown quickly on all sides for just a few minutes and then set aside on a plate.
- In the same pan, add the finely chopped carrot, celery and shallot and sweat for about 5-8 minutes on a light heat until starting to soften and caramelise.
- Add the halved shallots, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and rosemary and some good seasoning and stir for a few minutes.
- Return the cheeks to the pan and mix.
- Add enough red wine to just come up the sides of the dish. Crumble in a stock cube and top up with enough boiling water to submerge the cheeks but not so they are drowning.
- Pop in the oven for about 3 hours. Check the liquid level now and again, it should be reducing so after the 3 hours, you have a nice reduced thick sauce but the meat is by no meats drying out. Top up with more liquid if needed OR remove the lid if its too thin so it can reduce a bit.
- After about 3 hours, the cheeks should be beautifully tender, the sauce reduced and the top of the cheeks browning. You can pop the dish back on the hob to reduce some more if needed.
- Peel and chop the parsnips into chunks and add them to a saucepan with the milk and then top up with water to cover. Add the bay leaf and some cracked black pepper.
- Bring to a simmer and simmer gently for about 15 minutes until they are just tender – don’t over cook of they will be water logged, undercooked and you’ll get a lumpy puree!
- Drain the parsnips making sure you reserve the hot milk. Remove the bay leaf.
- Blend the parsnips in a blender with some salt and pepper and some of the reserved cooking milk but don’t add all at once. Add more of the milk as you blend to get the desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning.
To serve, spoon a lovely pool of parsnips puree onto a warm plate. Top with a few pork cheeks and some of that lovely thick sauce and a scattering of chopped parsley! Serve with some braised leeks and peas or greens of choice!