Cider Braised Pig Cheek and Bean Stew

Cider braised pork cheeks and beans

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

I had the pleasure of cooking for ten of us again this year and once again we had turkey from the excellent Northumberland Free Range Poultry Farm. It’s almost as good going out to fetch it as eating it in fact being a lovely part of the country. But today, turkey sandwich aside, I really did feel like something…well…else really.

The obligatory leftover turkey sandwich - with pickled cabbage and sausage stuffing on black pudding bread

The obligatory leftover turkey sandwich – with pickled cabbage and sausage stuffing on black pudding bread

Being a beautiful day, we went out for a much needed walk to the beach to watch the hardy souls take part in the Boxing Day dip. It’s something of an increasingly popular tradition  in coastal towns, at least round our way and involves running in various states of (fancy) dress into the North Sea which is pretty cold at any time of year to be honest. Looked good fun though and no doubt a fair bit was raised for charity so kudos to them.

Good for them!

Good for them!

Before we set off, I started this slow cooked dish – pig cheeks braised in good cider, with Chorizo, and cannellini beans. Full of flavour, great to come into after a cold walk and, if you trim the pork, relatively fat free. Not a bad thing at this time of year…

Serves 2:

  • 500g/1lb of pork cheeks
  • Oil
  • 1 bottle of good quality cider.
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • About 50g Chorizo, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • About 400ml/14fl oz stock or water
  • 80g/3oz cannellini (or haricot) beans
  • Salt

Simply trim the pig cheeks and brown in an oiled casserole pot (in batches) to get good colour, remove and set aside. Stir in the onion, chorizo and garlic and fry until soft. Add a little cider to deglaze the pan then return the pig cheeks and add the beans. Top up with the remaining cider and water or stock. Put a lid on and bring to a simmer.

Add the bay leaves then slowly cook in a cool oven or on the lowest hob setting you have to simmer for at least two hours, mine was in for three. I removed the lid for a bit when I got back in to reduce the stew a bit.

Taste and season if needed, then sit down and watch a decent movie.

Braised pork cheek and bean stew




13 thoughts on “Cider Braised Pig Cheek and Bean Stew

  1. Ha ha – having swum on Christmas Eve and New Years Day, many years ago, I recommend saving the clothes for after the swim and if you’re lucky wearing 2 wet suits helps 😉
    I know what you mean about after Christmas eating, I’m looking forward to cooking a savoury meat stew or Bolognese as a counter Christmas meal tomorrow. Your pig cheeks sound excellent 🙂

    • Cheers MD. Still battling with things to do with the leftovers – curry and a stock still to come from the beast of a turkey….You’re definitely braver than me then, but I might give this a go one year, looks fun, if a little cold 🙂

      • I went waterskiing in Mount’s Bay in Cornwall on Christmas Eve when I was a teenager. It was sunny and I wore 2 wetsuits, but it was bloody freezing! Not too bad though when the layer of air and water in the suits warms up 😉

  2. Excellent looking cheeks, Phil. We usually do a one mile run for the charity Goal on Christmas morning. This year, I was reduced to dog minder and chief photographer due to a sinus infection. I once waterskied around Dublin bay dressed up as Santa on a Christmas morning. But that, as they say, is another story.
    Happy Christmas and New Year,

    • Thanks very much Conor. Shame about this year then – that sounds a great start to Christmas Day and all the more ready for the dinner to come I’m guessing. Beats swanning about the kitchen with a mild red wine hangover as I usually do. I reckon water-skiing as Santa would blow the cobwebs away though – love it!

      Same to you, hope you have a great Christmas and New Year.

    • Thanks very much Mimi! I made these (and sun dried tomato bread) for Christmas day with some homemade butter – there was a theme here…. The pork definitely benefitted from a decent resting time and had bags of flavour. Happy New Year to you too!

  3. Wonderful dish! Love that you used both chorizo and cannellini beans with it. And that is one beautiful turkey sammich!!! I was to have received pig cheeks but, somehow, my order was lost and I’ve none. 😦 Here, we have clubs called Polar Bears and they take a dip in lakes, very often on New Year’s Day. Whether it’s the North Sea or Lake Michigan, you’ll never see me among those Bears. Putting an extra ice cube in my cocktail will be about as close as I’ll ever come.

    • Thanks John – definitely a trans-European affair going on here and why not, it’s Christmas! The turkey was enormous so there were also plenty more where that sandwich came from too..
      I can only shudder as to how cold the water must be in Michigan this time of year, I think I’d be joining you for a cocktail 😉 Maybe one year I’ll do the dip though, for enough (charity) money….

  4. Pig’s cheeks have got to be a strong contender for best-value animal protein available. I was pretty amazed when I saw them in Morrisons a a while back. Fair play to big Mo’s for stocking them. I usually braise in honey, white wine and mirepoix, although cider obviously makes perfect sense. I tried roasting them in a hot oven once (as per this recipe:, didn’t work out. They were tough and weird. Back to the braise!

    • Shame that recipe didn’t work out Lee sounds good roasted but that braising liquor sounds good to me. I actually did another recipe on here somewhere where I braised them in Thai flavours which I actually preferred and definitely recommend trying/experimenting with. So tasty.

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