Slow-braised pork cheeks with pear, sage & candied walnuts

Slow-braised pork cheeks with pear, sage & candied walnuts

By
From
Lagom
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Yuki Sugiura

This is a weekend dish for when there is time to cook for friends and family. This is a slow, rich stew for a long winter lunch. The good news is, once it is in the oven it requires very little work – so you can put your feet up! My husband particularly likes this with buttered tagliatelle, omitting the pears in favour of a little wilted spinach.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1kg pork cheeks, fat trimmed and cut in half through their middles if very thick
3 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil or olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato purée
200ml red wine
500ml beef stock
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig parsley
1 small bunch sage, roughly chopped, plus reserved 1 sprig
2 bay leaves
75g walnut halves
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
3 pears, halved and cut into quarters

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Mix the flour with the paprika and plenty of salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Coat the pork cheeks in the flour mixture.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, ovenproof casserole dish and fry the cheeks in batches until browned all over. Set aside, then add the remaining oil to the pan and tip in the onion. Cook, colouring as little as possible, for 5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and fry for a further 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and tomato purée and cook for a minute or two before returning the cheeks to the pan. Pour in the red wine and simmer for a few minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan.
  3. Cover the pork and vegetables with the stock, then add the thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage sprig and bay leaves, all tied together with string. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven, cooking for about 3 hours, or until the pork cheeks are tender come apart easily.
  4. Meanwhile, toss the walnuts with a spoonful of water and the caster sugar. Tip onto a baking sheet and place at the bottom of the oven for 10–15 minutes, stirring halfway through, until golden and caramelized.
  5. When the pork is almost ready, melt the butter in a large frying pan. Stir in the brown sugar and add the pears, cooking for about 5 minutes until golden and softened. Remove from the pan and sprinkle in the chopped sage leaves. Fry in the caramel butter briefly until crisp then scatter over the pears.
  6. Remove the herbs from the casserole dish and sprinkle the pork with the walnuts. Serve with the sage pears.
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