So I was walking up from a paper supply store and decided to stop by Eataly. At the meat counter they had pork cheeks in the spot I was hoping to find boar sausage, but whatever. Pork cheeks! I didn't know what I wanted to do with them, but I knew that I wanted them. The butcher behind the counter asked me what you do with pork cheeks and I said well... braise mostly.
So that's what I did. 1.5 pounds of pork cheeks got braised in my le creuset purple dutch oven of awesomness then got smothered with wine, tomato paste, tomato concentrate, coconut milk, berbere spices, salt, pepper and a small can of anchovies.
This was placed into a 300ish oven for 3ish hours. Then I decided I didn't want to eat them that day because we'd had italian sausage earlier while the cheeks were cooking. So into the fridge they went. The next day, I got Mike to heat them up (funny how guys can make a big deal out of heating up the food you did all of the prep work for because they might break/drop/set-fire-to something) and cook the fresh pasta from the noodle case at Eataly.
He was... hesitant... but not everyone can be excited about pork cheeks without trying them! Once he got over that he liked them enough to clean his bowl (win!).
I had them later that night with some more pasta and a sprinkle or two of Parmesan cheese. The cheeks are so easy and really flavorful. Plus, the meat just falls apart after all that cooking.
- 1.5-2 lbs pork cheeks
- 1 tube of tomato paste
- 1 small bottle of tomato concentrate
- 1 can of coconut milk (the creamier the better)
- 1/2 a bottle of red wine
- one small can of anchovies
- Berbere spice mix (I get mine from spices and tease)
- few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste