Pork Cheeks Braised in Sherry

Although time-consuming due to the long cooking time, you will feel richly rewarded once you let your fork and knife (or spoon, rather) sink into the butter-soft meat and get to enjoy its wonderful taste which is so beautifully underlined by the distinct, yet not over-powering flavoring coming from the sherry, mountain pepper and just a dash of Pimentón de la Vera.

It’s a fantastic tapas or starter dish but can as well be served as a main.

Sanni

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Ingredients (for 4 starter portions or 2 mains):

  • 4 organic (preferably Iberian or Duroc) pork cheeks (ca. 100 grams each)
  • fleur de sel
  • freshly ground mountain pepper (Tasmanian pepperberry)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (for frying)
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 50 grams of lardons
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Pimentón de la Vera (hot)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, whole
  • ca. 100 ml of sherry (fino)
  • 200 ml of beef stock
  • 200 ml of water
  • For decoration: a few leaves of roughly chopped parsley, 1/2 tablespoon of sliced almonds

Preparation:

  1. Rub the pork cheeks with fleur de sel and mountain pepper on both sides. Set aside.
  2. Fry the onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat until soft (but not brown).  Remove and set aside.
  3. In the same frying pan, gently fry the lardons until they release the fat.
  4. Increase the temperature and sear the pork cheeks for 1.5 minutes from each side, then remove and set aside.
  5. Add the onion, the spices and the garlic and fry for 1 minute, then deglaze with the sherry.
  6. Immediately add the pork cheeks.
  7. Let the sherry reduce to 1/2, then add the beef stock and water.
  8. Cover and let simmer on low heat for approximately 2 hours.
  9. Serve with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the liquid (the remainder of which makes an excellent stock) and sprinkled with parsley and sliced almonds.

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