Recipe Courtesy of Swift's Attic
5# Pork Cheeks, trimmed of connective tissue and excess fat
½ cup kosher salt
3 T coarse freshly ground Green peppercorn
1 bottle chilled dry white wine
1 cup golden raisins, tied up in cheesecloth, or a coffee filter
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch leeks, cleaned with greens included, sliced in 3-4 inch segments
3 ea carrots, quartered lengthwise.
3 qt chicken stock
½ cup pomace or vegetable oil
1 qt destemmed dried mission figs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp finely ground green peppercorn
1 cup bourbon or whisky
4-5 sticks of fresh thyme
Water to cover figs
1 tsp salt
1q Pommace Oil
¼ c Rosemary, Chopped Fine
2 t Chili Flake
2t Garlic Fine Chop
1. Mix kosher salt and green peppercorn together and season the cheeks liberally. Refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
3. Preheat a large roasting pan over med heat.
4. Remove cheeks from the fridge, and remove from any liquid that the curing process may have removed.
5. Pat dry and sear the cheeks.
6. When cheeks are crusty and evenly caramelized, remove from the pan and reserve.
7. Add to the hot pan the leeks and carrots and sautee briefly.
8. Deglaze the pan with roughly half of the wine. Drink the rest.
9. Reducw wine by 50%
10. Add the stock and the raisins, and bring to a boil.
11. Add cheeks and bring to a simmer.
12. Taste the broth at this point and season accordingly.
13. Cover the pan tightly with a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of tinfoil and place in oven. Cook cheeks approximately 3-4 hours, or until they pass the fork test.
14. Once cheeks are cooked, add the thyme and let cook an additional 15 minutes.
15. Remove from heat, and remove the thyme from the broth.
16. Allow the cheeks to cool in the braising liquid until they are cool enough to handle. (This may be done in an ice bath if you have a vessel large enough.)
17. Once cheeks are cooled, separate them from the broth and vegetables, reserving each separately.
18. Pass the broth through a fine chinois, a coffee filter, or clean cotton t-shirt in any strainer or fine colander will work as a stand-in for the chinois. Pay closer attention to the coffee filter, as they have a tendency to get backed up more quickly than a shirt.
19. Add broth back to cheeks and reserve chilled until you are ready to eat them.
20. Easily reheat over low heat in any sauce pot.
21. The braised vegetables may be pureed and reserved frozen or chilled and added to any soup, or even tomato sauce for extra depth of flavor. They may also be discarded, or eaten right away by themselves, if you are so inclined. The raisins may be added to the fig puree (next recipe) or discarded.
1. Place all ingredients except thyme in a medium sauce pot and place over med-low heat.
2. Do not let flames ignite the bourbon, as the resulting flames will overly brown the remaining sugary ingredients.
3. Once figs have simmered for about 20 minutes remove from heat and add thyme.
4. Let steep for an additional 15 minutes.
5. Strain, reserving the cooking liquid, but not the thyme.
6. Place cooked figs in the food processor, and puree, slowly adding back the cooking liquid until you have a smooth puree that looks neither thick nor thin. It is important to note that this puree will thicken up once chilled, so err on the thinner side if unsure. You may or may not need all the cooking liquid.
7. Chill until ready to serve. Will keep indefinitely if covered and refrigerated.
1. Combine all ingredients and store at room temp for up to 6 days.
To Assemble and Serve:
1. Reheat cheeks over med-low heat in a sauce pot, season again to taste.
2. Brush toast (3-4 pieces per person) with rosemary oil on both sides, and toast on a grill, griddle, or in a hot oven (be sure to flip halfway through if you use an oven.)
3. Place figs and mustard in separate crocks.
4. Place cheeks and some of the braising liquid in a serving vessel, garnishing with any fresh herbs that you may enjoy, and serve alongside toast and accouterments.