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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Pork Cheek Braised with Fennel and Chorizo, Finished with Watercress and Feta

This is the very definition of sometimes food. Holy moly, so tender you could have eaten this using a brick, the fat from the crackling scrapped off like soft jelly. The butcher warned me about this. The cheek came as an entire jowl, its not very pretty to look at but it certainly did the job. Very little prep, a few hours cooking, a lot of guilty face stuffing. Oh, and I meant to poach some green prawns in the reducing liquid but forgot, it would have been great though...

2 pork jowls (score the skin)
1/3 chorrizo sausage finely minced
1 stick celery finely diced
1 carrot finely diced
1 onion finely diced
3 cloves garlic sliced
1/2 a fennel finely diced
1/2 a capsicum finely diced
1 cup bubbly white wine
1 bunch watercress
2 cherry tomatoes
1 tbs marinated feta
1 tbs caraway seeds
1 tbs salt (maybe more)
1/4 bottle passata
1 tbs sugar
Olive oil

Heat some olive in a large frying pan to medium high. Half cook the chorizo then remove to a clean plate. Oil the pork skin, pour over the caraway seeds and salt and rub into the skin. Sear the underside of the pork jowl until it has great colour then remove to a clean plate. Throw in the veg and garlic and toss about until fragrant. Pour any resting juice into the veg, add in the chorizo, place the jowls on top and pour in enough wine to cover the veg (not watercress or tomato) and come a little up the sides of the meat. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 2 hours.
Preheat an oven to 140C.
Remove the lid and place the pork in the oven - it reduces the sauce and dries out the skin. Roast for an hour. Remove the dish from the oven. Take the meat from the pan and place back in the oven, under a medium high grill, 2 or 3 shelves down until crispy and awesome. Good idea to place something underneath it. In the meantime reduce the sauce over a low heat on the stove top with half the sugar and all of the passata. Mince the watercress with the feta and cherry tomatoes. Mix through half of the feta, check the cheek sauce for seasoning and sweetness and add more salt/pepper/sugar if required. If you feel as though it is too heavy, squeeze in some lemon - the feta and tomato will freshen it up though. Slice, arrange on a plate, add some sauce, top with more feta gear and serve with some great toasted bread.

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