After some time in the wilderness…

Hi all,

I have been away for some time now, working on new projects and at a new establishment, Caravan in Kings Cross, London. I am back and ready to start offering up some new exciting seasonal recipes with that little Gypsy Chef twist. So without further ado, here is a brand new recipe for this chilly March afternoon.

 

Braised Pig Cheeks, Polenta, Nettle and Sorrel Gremolata (serves 4)

 

Pig Cheeks

4 pig cheeks

750 mls red wine

500 mls beef stock

2 carrots finely diced

1 lrg white onion finely diced

2 stick celery finely diced

1 tbls fresh thyme

1 tbls fresh sage

2 star anise

1/4 nutmeg grated

1 tbls paprika

50 g plain flour

1 tbls salt and pepper

1 tbls olive oil

10 g butter

Polenta

100g polenta

400 mls whole milk

50 g butter

50 g parmesan grated

Gremolata

5 fresh sorrel leaves picked from my local forest

5 fresh nettle leaves picked from my local forest

10 cobnuts roasted and crushed

1/2 garlic clove

1 lemon zested

1/2 lemon juiced

1 pinch sea salt

20 mls rapeseed oil

 

Method

Dont be put off by the ingredients list, this recipe is nice and simple and a lot of the prep can be done ahead of the game. Ask your butcher to trim the cheeks and clean them for you. Marinade the cheeks with half the wine, the finely diced vegetables, herbs and spices, cover and leave over night.

For the gremolata, puree your garlic with the sea salt, mix with lemon zest, crushed cobnuts, wash and chop sorrel and nettles and add, finally mix lemon juice, oil and leave to sit.

Preheat your oven to 130 degrees, remove your cheeks from the marinade, add your marinade to a pan with the stock and the rest of the wine and bring to the boil and reduce by half. Dredge the cheeks in seasoned flour and fryin oil and butter until brown all over. Place in oven proof dish and cover with the reduced sauce then cover with tin foil. Cook for around 2 and 1/2 hours or until soft to the touch.

Finish with your polenta, heat up your milk and butter, add the polenta and whisk until cooked out, thickened and smooth, add the grated parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. To plate, smear the polenta to make a well, add the cheek and the sauce, finish with the gremolata. Enjoy!

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