This is a truly gorgeous dish, and for very little money. Pig's cheeks are a very underrated cut - half a kilo of pig's cheeks feeds five people and costs under five pounds but if you cook it properly the meat is a real delicacy.
The best manner to each pig's cheeks is roasted, but that would require roasting a whole pig's head, which I think might be one step too close to the food chain for my kids. Anyway, if you do want to try this, preheat the over at 200 degrees, put the pig's head in your sink and clean it well, pour boiling water over the head at least three times to get rid of any germs, dry it well, add salt (all around), cover the ears with foil and then put it into the oven for 1.5 hours (ears side down). After that time turn the head around, uncover the ears and roast for another 1-1.15 hours.
If the head is not for you, then try this much more civilised recipe which is divine. You need:
- 10 pig's cheeks
- flour ( 3-4 tablespoons)
- 2 carrots (diced)
- 2 onions (diced)
- 1 clove of garlic (sliced)
- a stick of celery (sliced thinly)
- a red peper (diced)
- a leek (chopped thinly)
- a pinch of parsley leaves (chopped thinly)
- a bay leave
- half a litre of red wine though I prefer to use 250 ml of red wine and 250 ml of sweet wine, like Malaga, Pedro Jimenez, Marsala or even port.
- one glass of water
- one and a half tablespoons of vinegar
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt the cheeks, dust them with flour and fry them in the olive oil on both sides until they get golden (a couple of minutes on each side). Take them off the pan and reserve them. Then add all the vegetables, fry them for 5 minutes over medium heat, add the checks, pour the wine and water, wait until there are bubbles in the sauce, cover with a lid, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 1 hour. Then add the vinegar and let it simmer for another 45 minutes. The result should be really tender, buttery meat with a thick sauce.
This tastes better if you eat it the following day. I serve it with potato cubes fried in olive oil (just heat the oil, fry the potato cubes for 3 minutes on each side, put them on kitchen paper to get rid of excess oil and add salt).