Hello, and welcome to the year of the rabbit. To celebrate Chinese new year here is a recipe for braised pig cheeks, because everybody knows that pigs are like rabbits in everything but name, flavour, and appearance. You can find pig cheeks in the supermarket that begins with a ‘W’, or ask your butcher nicely and they’ll scoop some out for you, or get in touch with this guy if you’re in London. Otherwise use this marinade on some other part of the pig. Its belly, for example.
1kg pig cheeks
2 tbsp Chinese five spice
1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns, pounded in a P&M
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp groundnut oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 red chillies, finely sliced
A thumb of ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips (julienne, dontcha know)
250ml chicken stock
– Mix together the spices, soy sauce, honey, oil and vinegar, and toss through the cheeks along with the ginger, chillies, and a good pinch of salt. Leave for as long as you can.
– Preheat the oven to 170C. Shake excess marinade from the meat and brown in a large saucepan or saute pan. Tip in the marinade and the stock, bring to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes, then bung in the oven for an hour and a half. Remove and simmer to reduce for half an hour.
– Serve with steamed rice and something green.