Recipe Shed: Slow Cooker Pork Cheeks with Roasted Garlic Mash and Buttered Cabbage

pork cheeks

Pig’s cheeks are a chef’s favourite, but which are much overlooked by the general public. In their untrimmed state, they are just slabs of fat which hide burgundy-coloured jewels of meat beneath.

You won’t find them in supermarkets so have a word with your butcher: mine had to order tthem in especially for me.

I cannot do justice to this dish better than my foodie dad friends, Simon, who texted me the following after I treated him to a couple of these stunning nuggets of porkiness.

‘Absolutely awesome. Blown away. Certainly one of those incredible food experiences. The smell of the aniseed/wine/darkly intense toasted gamey meat is intoxicating. The texture took me back to Gordon Ramsay’s shredded shin beef: soft and buttery, but with enough structure to give bite and chew then melt. A sensory odyssey. Wow!’

If you like these, you could try my Pulled Pig’s Cheeks in Buns

Serves 4

6 pig cheeks, trimmed by your butcher (don’t try this at home – it needs an expert’s knowledge)
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp sunflower oil
500ml good quality white wine
500ml  chicken stock
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp aniseeds
2 small dried red chillies

1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Dust the cheeks in the flour and then brown them all over in the pan.

2. Put the rest of the ingredients into a slow cooker, then gently place the browned pigs’ cheeks into the liquid.

3. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. If using a casserole, cook at 160C/Gas 3 for 3-4 hours. When the cheeks are meltingly tender, remove from the liquid and transfer to tin foil. Drain the liquid through a sieve and reserve. This will be the base of a fantastically aromatic gravy.

4. Forty five minutes before you’re ready to serve, preheat the over to 180C/Gas 4 and cook the cheeks for 30-40 mins, until hot.

5. Serve with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, buttered cabbage, apple sauce and gravy made from the reduced stock.





Filed under Pork, Recipe Shed

24 Responses to Recipe Shed: Slow Cooker Pork Cheeks with Roasted Garlic Mash and Buttered Cabbage

  1. What a fabulous colour, I would never have known. Saved this post and is on my list to have a try next time I get near a butcher, thanks Keith.

    • Phaedra

      I have just eaten these in Berlin and were amazing slow cooked in cider and spices ! I have just ordered two cheeks from my farm shop and they charged me 50 pence each!! just need to find out how to trim them.

      • Tony

        No need to trim if you use a slow cooker. Put the complete cheek in and the fat will braise the meat. When cooked the fat can be easily removed with a knife

  2. My goodness I think I’ll have to pop down to Borough Market on Friday for some cheeks!
    Lovely dish, can’t wait to give it a go too.

  3. Sounds gorgeous! Waitrose do pig cheeks, I find you sometimes have to ask for them though. Might have to try this next time I get some :)

  4. I have a bag of pork cheeks in the freezer waiting to be used and this looks like the recipe for them. They’re not trimmed though so I guess I have some expert butchery to learn :)

  5. Mark

    My local Morrisons sell pig cheeks at £5/KG – excellent value:-)

  6. Liz

    My friend gave me a recipe for these (Slow braised pigs’ cheeks with parsnip puree) from the internet. She had sampled this in France at a great cost, I made it a few days ago and it is AMAZING!! Yes you can get them in waitrose in packs of 7, I did a dinner party on Saturday and had them… the best part of this is……. serve 2 cheeks per person and it will cost you 50p per person!!!! 25p per cheek. I will definately try this recipe here now.

  7. Victoria

    We had this today, I bought them because they were so cheap but I hadn’t an idea what to do with them. Wow!! So glad I tried this, the cheeks had a good depth of flavour and just melted,the chilli gave a nice kick to the gravy. It is such an easy dish to do and portioning is easy, we had two cheeks each but could have done with three as they weren’t very big. Thank you for a perfect recipe!

    • keithkendrick

      ‘Perfect’? That’s about as perfect a compliment I’ve ever received. Thanks so much. Beyond chuffed.

  8. Kate

    I made this at the weekend with a couple of adaptations as I wasn’t so sure about the aniseed (not a flavour I’m keen on) and switched it out for some rosemary & thyme. The result was absolutely amazing, beautiful flavour/texture to the meat.

    My local butchers version of trimmed comes with all of the cheek flesh still attached, they must weigh about a 0.75Kg each, I was a little shocked when handed the packs, it looked enough to feed everyone for a week!! Although after processing it was a lot less than it looked. It was pretty easy to remove the cheek fillets, the dark red meaty blobs (is that what they are called??) and I was left with this huge slab of fat/meat/etc and it seemed a little wasteful to just bin it and so I removed the skin (easy if you have a sharp filleting knife) and as much fat as possible and put them in with the fillets, interestingly whilst the fillets are a deep red the rest of the cheek is very white, very long grained and whilst not as tasty as the main cheeks fillets was still lovely. (Wish I’d taken a picture!)

    We don’t have a slow cooker and I didn’t like the sound of the hotter oven version, so if you have an oven thermometer you can get your oven down to 90C quite easily and so ours was done for 8 hours at 90C in the main oven.

    Many thanks for the recipe, will definitely be making this one again.

    • keithkendrick

      Superb. You’ve made my day with this success story. Many thanks for sharing it. It’s so nice to know.

  9. Ian Canfield

    wow this is amazing!
    fed the whole family
    Just didn’t give the kids gravy
    Saved that for the adults cause it s too good
    Bought the pigs cheeks in Waitrose
    mega cheap as reduced!

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Ian. I’m delighted. Thanks for the feedback. It’s been a while since I had them but you’ve inspired me to have them again. Keith

  10. jenny

    Really good. Must tell you that i bought the pig cheeks in Morrisons. Beautifully trimmed and an excellent price too, making this a meal fit for a king but priced well within my budget.

  11. Recipe looks so simple yet sounds delicious. Picking up my pork cheeks from my local butcher tomorrow and will prepare using your guidelines. I may make a few slight adjustments with ingredients. Thank you for including photos of the raw product as well as details on how you prepared them. There are not many pork cheek recipes available online. Hopefully mine will be as tasty as yours! Beth – Atlanta, Georgia

    • keithkendrick

      Hi Beth, Pork cheeks are delicious. I hope the recipe works out for you. It’s been a while since I cooked this but now that autumn is here, I’ll give it another go. Many thanks for stopping by.

  12. Jacqui Davies

    Had pigs jowl in Maury, SW France cooked in the local Maury (sweet, red wine) and obviously slow braised to delicious tenderness. Served on the bone, so it looked like braised shoulder of lamb but tasted even better. Now determined to try to replicate it by similar method to yours, maybe using some Marsala to get close to the Maury taste (the wine is fortified with brandy, so very rich). Thanks for the ideas.

  13. Al Gick

    You can find them at a supermarket – Morrisons sell pig cheeks

  14. V M

    With regards to Step 3 and 4, will the pork cheeks dry up if I put them into the oven after slow cooking them? Just wanted to prepare all the steps before guests arrive and having step 4, means I get to clean up my slow cooker before everyone arrives?

    • keithkendrick

      Hi VM, you could even make these pork cheeks in the slow cooker the day before your guests arrive, then wrap them in tin foil and put in the fridge. Heat them up 45 mins before you’re ready to serve. If you want to keep them warm in the oven, make sure they’re wrapped in foil with a tablespoon of water, otherwise they will dry up if just exposed to the oven’s heat. Best of luck.

      • Vm

        Thanks I’ll do just that. I am displaying it on a bed of puréed parsnip and garnishing them with grilled, crunchy pancetta. Fingers crossed :) I’ll try to post a photo post NYE meal. Thanks and all the best for the new year.

      • keithkendrick

        Whoa! That sounds delicious. I’ve just watched Jamie Oliver cook Bloody Mary Beef – the resulting meat reminded me of the falling-apart texture of the pork cheeks. Happy New Year to you, too.

  15. Jayne Cleveley

    I live in Madrid, this is called Carrillada here , considered,a delicacy, very cheap , 1 kg about 4 euros , just made it as my husband ( Spanish ) loves all stews and pulse dishes, in the winter, very easy in my le Crueset casserole did this slow cooking on the top of the ceramic hob ( vitro here).if you need any recipes or Lentils stew or chickpea stew I have them