|Consejo Regulador de las Denominaciones de Origen "Jerez-Xérès-Sherry" - "Manzanilla-Sanlúcar de Barrameda" - "Vinagre de Jerez"|
Pork cheeks are a sublime cut, lovely and tender when properly cooked; no bones, just delicious meat. I can’t remember not having pork cheeks on the menu of my restaurants; the customers love them as much as I do.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 ½ - 3½ hours
Season the cheeks and dust lightly with the flour.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based casserole over a high heat and add the pork cheeks. Pan-fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Put the onion, garlic cloves, carrot and celery into the same pan and fry until dark golden, about 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves, thyme, sprigs, dried spices and the chopped tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, until the juices from the tomatoes have reduced down.
Return the seared cheeks to the pan and flambé: add the sherry and light quickly using a lighter or long matches. Add the remaining salt and when the liquid has reduced by about two thirds, stir in the beef stock cube along with 1 litre of water. Bring to the boil and cook at a fast simmer for 30 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer gently for at least 2 hours – the cheeks may need longer, even up to 3 hours, to become really tender.
Some people say that marinating meat in red wine for 24 hours tenderizes it. I have done this literally hundreds of times but all I can say is that the meat tastes a bit more acidic and looks more purple. My suggestion is not to bother.