Cheeks. Yes, the ones on a pig’s face. Imagine trying to serve a pig’s bum. That would be some portion! This Pigs’ Cheeks Recipe is a really popular dish – tender and a little sweet the way I cook it – but people can be put off by the idea that they’re eating a pig’s face. So don’t tell them until after they’ve eaten it.
– 1 head of celery, roughly chopped
– 3 onions, roughly chopped
– 4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
– 1 garlic bulb, cloves separated, peeled and roughly chopped
– 20 pigs’ cheeks
– ½ Bunch of thyme
– 80g Black Treacle
– 1 tsp cracked pepper
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 2 tbsp cornflour or potato starch
– 100g salted butter
– 2 bramley apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
– Salt and ground ginger
– Sunflower oil, for deep-frying
– 300g sosa air bag farina
– 1 head of hispi cabbage
– 1 iceberg lettuce
– Pickled shallots
– 1 granny smith apple (frozen for 24 hours)
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.
2. For the pigs’ cheeks, put the vegetables, garlic, cheeks and thyme into a very deep roasting tin. Pour in enough cold water to
3. completely submerge, then add the treacle and black pepper. Cover with two layers of foil and place in the oven for 3 hours.
4. Remove the tin from the oven and check that a knife easily goes through the cheeks. If there is any resistance, re-cover the tin and return to the oven until the cheeks are soft enough for a knife to easily pass through them.
5. Once cooked, remove the tin from the oven and leave the cheeks to cool.
6. Peel and discard the fat from the cheeks, then place them on a tray, cover the tray with clingfilm and refrigerate until required.
7. Pass the cooking liquid through a sieve into a saucepan and cook until reduced to about 1 litre, then season with salt and black pepper.
8. Mix the cornflour or potato starch with a little cold water to make a paste, stir into the liquid and cook until thickened so that it coats the back of a spoon. Strain again and set aside.
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and sweat the apples over a medium heat until they start to go mushy.
2. Stir in 100ml cold water, cover the pan and leave to cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove the clingfilm and cook the mixture to a thick purée.
3. Transfer the apple to a blender and whizz until smooth, then pass through a sieve and season with salt and ground ginger. Set aside.
1. Heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep-fat fryer or deep saucepan until the temperature reaches 180°C. Deep-fry the Air Bag for 1 minute, stirring constantly to ensure that it is evenly crispy.
2. Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
1. Remove and discard the darker leaves from the cabbage and lettuce. Separate the remaining leaves and cut into 10cm diamond-shaped pieces.
2.Wash and drain well, keeping the cabbage and lettuce separate.
1. Sprinkle the pigs’ cheeks with capers, pickled shallots and the crispy Air Bag.
2. Serve with the cabbage, lettuce and apple purée, grating the frozen apple over the top to finish.
Glynn Purnell was awarded a Michelin Star whilst Head Chef at Jessica’s, in turn giving Birmingham its first ever Michelin star. He now runs Purnell’s and Purnell’s Bistro. He regularly appears on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen and has also featured on The Great British Food Revival. Following the success of Glynn’s first book, Cracking Yolks and Pig Tales, his second book is described as ‘rustic home cooking with an eclectic twist’, and is perfect for anyone who wants to get creative in the kitchen.