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