Cold weather is on its way, keep yourself warm with a big bowl of this comforting ragu. Pigs cheeks are cheap and flavourful, but they need to be treated with care. Cook them slowly and lovingly. They can be hard to find, but a good butcher will be able to get hold of them with a couple of days notice, and they can sometimes be found in Waitrose.
10 pigs cheeks
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 onions, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 head of fennel, finely sliced
2 bulbs of garlic, finely chopped
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Half a bottle of wine
Heat some olive oil in a saucepan and sear the pig cheeks. Remove from the pan, turn down the heat, add the onions, celery and fennel and cook until soft. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook for another minute.
Add the pig cheeks, wine, tomatoes, a couple of good sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf. Season well with salt and pepper. Bring up to a simmer. Put the lid on and cook gently for at least 3 hours. Stir every now and again to make sure it’s not burning.
Alternatively the saucepan can be put in the oven at 140 ? for 4 hours.
Once the pork is tender, shred the meat and return to the pan. Check for seasoning.
Serve with pappardelle, parsley and a good grating of Parmesan.
This ragu can be made a couple of days early, and it freezes well.
Recipe brought to you by Elizabeth Caton, leading provider of cooking classes in Sussex. For more information on our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us.