Friday, March 14, 2008

Pork Cheeks

As promised the Pig Cheek post. I'll say first off that I've been craving Asian flavors. A sharp lime bite with a salty soy, and chili spike. It's just been on my mind lately, and you can see this with what I chose to braise the cheeks in. I was inspired to procure the cheeks by Chef Harlin's posting about them in the Cleveland.com forums.



The cheek 0n the left is how I purchased them. I removed the silver skin, obvious fat which occured mostly on one side. The bottom (as they are pictured) may or may not have a bit of cartlige, like a bent toothpick. This piece was definatly hard and needed to be removed. The cheek on the right is ready to go.
At the last minute I decided to cure the cheeks, opposed to searing them. I tossed them in my personal duck conift cure which consists most of sugar, salt, and cinnamon. I assembled this mis' while they cured for about 1/2 an hour: tomato, onion, carrot, ginger, chipotle, and for liquid I used equal parts, pepared plum sauce, soy sauce, water, and chicken stock. I was sure to rinse the cure off good because I knew the salt from the cure and the soy would not give a good result.



This is a good picture because it show the 'bottom' of the cheeks set on the mis' just waiting for some liquids. I added just enough liquid to cover eveything, covered with foil, and let cook at 300 degree for two hours.



The cheeks are still steamy hot in this pick. They turned out very well. I speculate that a little less cook time was needed. I've become a big fan of using the vegetables from a meat braise. For this reason I clean, peel, and dice them so they will be sufficently cooked. I picked out the ginger, which I kept large for this very reason, strained the veg. and will use them.

This is what I finally came up with. Soy braised Pork Cheeks with broccolli, garlic bread, and a truffle-soy broth.

I found the flavor of the cheeks to be wonderful. The resulting broth had a wonderful gelatinous sheen. The texture was reminiscent of pork sholder, but the fibers are much shorter eliminating that stingy situation. Pork cheeks are very well suited for the fine dining plate, or the chili pot. I will buy them again. I happened upon these at D.W. Whitakers in the West Side Market for just under three dollars a pound. I consider that a deal.

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6 comments:

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Anonymous said...

the cheeks are beautiful.. i never thought about using porks cheeks, but a few years ago i remember seeing halibut cheeks everywhere.. ashame to waste these hidden gems in stock when there are far better uses for them.. congrads keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

Michael, the pork cheeks dish looks amazing! My DH and I plan to eat at your place Saturday before BMG. I just called for reservations but was told you don't take them for less than 8. Will it be on the menu on Saturday? This is definitely something my husband would enjoy.

BTW, are you open for lunch?

-Karen

Anonymous said...

Michael, the pork cheeks dish looks amazing! My DH and I plan to eat at your place Saturday before BMG. I just called for reservations but was told you don't take them for less than 8. Will it be on the menu on Saturday? This is definitely something my husband would enjoy.

BTW, are you open for lunch?

-Karen

Michael Walsh said...

Karen, while this dish is not on the menu I will be sure to save a portion for you. It is true that we don't take reso for small groups, we relish the bar atmosphere. Also, we are not currently open for lunch, we tried in the past to a lack luster turnout.

thanks for your support

Anonymous said...

thanks Michael. I did let the cleveland food/wine forum know that I had outdated information. Jim and I will be at Wonder Bar on Saturday. Even if you don't have the pork cheek dish available, I know we'll both have a terrific dinner.

-Karen