Friday, October 28, 2011


This is a stew for evenings in, wrapped up in front of a film - though it'll work just as well in bowls by the bonfire too. The pig cheeks are a real treat in this dish - they are tender, succulent and full of rich flavour, meaning you don't need much on your plate. It's dead cheap too - the four cheeks cost me well under £2, so you can afford to jazz it up with the wildest of autumn mushrooms.

Make double and put it in the freezer for another wintery day.


Serves 2-4

4 large pork cheeks, trimmed of fat, rubbed with olive oil
4 rashers smoked bacon, roughly chopped
1 tsp carraway seeds
tsp salted butter
2 large leeks, chopped into rounds
200g mixture of chestnut and wild mushrooms
500ml ale
200ml chicken stock
1/2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
handful tarragon leaves, roughly chopped

Place a large frying pan onto a medium/high heat. When hot (keep a chopped bit of bacon to test the pan. It will sizzle if ready) add the cheeks and bacon. You want to brown the cheeks, so rotate them every so often. This should take 3-4 minutes. The bacon will be cooked and beginning to crisp. Set aside.

In another pan, meanwhile, soften the leeks in the butter. Add the mushrooms and the carraway seeds. Now add the cheeks and bacon and stir.

Pour in the ale and the chicken stock and bring to the boil, then returning it to a simmer. Add the bay leaves and leave to fut away for approx. 2 hours. After this time, test the tenderness of the cheeks by pulling at them with two forks. They should be easy to shred. If so, begin to pull each cheek into smaller pieces.

Test for seasoning.

When ready to serve, stir in the tarragon. Best eaten with a fluffy garlic mash potato.


  1. Sounds delish. And I love your phrase 'fut away'!

  2. James mentioned Pigs cheeks to me last year. I am absolutely going to try them .. they look delicious.

    I was sorry to have missed you on Thursday .. i was hoping to say hi ... the meal was fabulous.

  3. They were so tender - I'd cook this in a huge batch and invite lots of friends to eat it. A real crowd pleaser.

    Vanessa - sorry to have missed you.