4.06.2012

My favorite kind of people

I like people who love to eat. Those people who eat something and they love it and then can't stop talking about it, making almost-obscene sounds thinking of how good it was. Those people who always have seconds of everything, people who wipe the plate with bread until it's clean.  I like people who will eat anything. People who first try it and then ask what it is. I like people who think that eating is one of the biggest pleasures in life. I really like them, I can't help it.

I do like myself in that sense too. I like that I like eating. I like it so much that I got really worried some months ago when suddenly I lost my appetite for several days. I thought that if I didn't want to eat anymore I wasn't going to be the same person. Thank goodness that it came back!

My family on my mom's side is the same way. They all eat a lot and they are all great cooks. In family reunions food is always the main conversation topic. Lots of recipes are exchanged, and most importantly, we eat a lot and very well. My family are definitely great people.


Today I have a recipe for that kind of people. Braised pork cheeks. The obscene sounds are guaranteed. The sauce is the kind that makes you want to lick the plate (don't worry mom, I haven't licked the plate). Although it might sound weird to you, this is a very typical dish in Spain. Here in America one doesn't often find pork cheeks at the supermarket, but, oh my friends! My recently discovered farmers market has a stand with all kinds of meet cuts, and the pork cheeks are super cheap.


I made them the day before, as I have learnt that this kind of dishes taste much better after a night resting in the fridge. I served them with homemade potato fries. I read somewhere that the best fries are fried in two steps. First you fry them in oil that is not very hot for some minutes. Then you take them out and let them cool down, and then you fry them again in very hot oil so they get crispy on the outside. I did it that way, and I am not sure if it was worth it, but they were good.


Braised Pork Cheeks in Red Wine Sauce
(Serves 2. For more people, add more cheeks)

8 pork cheeks
5 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2 celery stalks
3 carrots
1 garlic clove
4 plum tomatoes (or a can of whole tomatoes)
1.5 cups/ 350ml/ (more or less) 1/2 bottle of red wine
1 cup/ 250ml of beef stock
1/2 tsp dry thyme
1/2 tsp dry rosemary

Preheat the oven to 350º F/180ºC

Pat-dry the cheeks and season them with salt and pepper. In a big heavy pot (with a fitting lid) heat the oil and sear the cheeks in batches, 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Take them out to a plate and reserve.

Coarsely chop the vegetables. Add the carrots, onion and celery to the pot and stir over medium heat. Add minced garlic and let it cook for some minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Then add the stock, the tomatoes and the spices and the pork cheeks with their juices and bring to a boil.

Cover the put and put it in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender. While it's in the oven, check often if it is simmering. If it is not, turn up the heat, and if its boiling, turn it down. Another option is to braise it over the stove, where it is easier to control the simmering, but I prefer the oven as the heat distributes evenly.

When it's done, take out of the oven and let it cool. Now you can put it in the fridge until the next day or you can keep going. I did the former.

Take the cheeks out of the pot (if they are cold from the fridge, heat them first over medium heat so the sauce liquefies). With a blender, puree the sauce until smooth. Add more salt to the sauce if necessary and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add the cheeks back to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve, eat, make obscene sounds, wipe your plate with bread, lick your fingers.

2 comments:

  1. This looks great, expert like.
    A hint: you can add an ounce of dark chocolate(70%) grated to the blended sauce and heat a few ... minutes.The sauce feels (can one say this? ) smoother and creamy in the mouth.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I will surprise you soon with your chocolate tip!

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