Braised pork cheeks with butchers’ sauce

Braised pork cheeks with butchers’ sauce

Tara Fisher

This type of dish is appearing more and more often on restaurant menus, which surprised me a little at first. But I love pork cheeks: it’s the part of the animal that does the most work, and so in my mind has the best flavour. They’re cheap too, and easy to get hold of from your butcher. Ask for the membrane to be removed, though, as they can sometimes be tough if you leave it on, even if you cook them for a long time.


Quantity Ingredient
16 pork cheeks, trimmed
1 onion
2 carrots
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
500ml good white wine
200ml chicken stock
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Butchers’ sauce:

Quantity Ingredient
2 onions
75g butter
2 large gherkins
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
125ml white wine
250ml brown chicken stock
1 tablespoon english mustard


  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Season the pork cheeks with salt and pepper. Thickly slice the onion, carrots and garlic. Heat a large flameproof casserole dish until hot, add the olive oil and pork cheeks in batches, and fry on each side until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the onions, carrots and garlic to the pan and cook over a medium heat until softened, then return the pork cheeks to the pan and add the herbs and white wine. Bring to the boil, then cook until reduced by half. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook in the oven for 2 hours, until the cheeks are tender. Strain off the cooking liquid – you won’t need it for this dish, but it would be great as the base of a soup.
  3. Meanwhile, make the butchers’ sauce. Finely slice the onions. Heat a large frying pan until hot, add the butter and sliced onions and cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown. Cut the gherkins into thin strips and roughly chop the parsley.
  4. Increase the heat slightly, then add the wine and stir well into the onions, picking up any sediment on the bottom of the pan. Cook until nearly evaporated. Cut the butter into cubes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer, cook for 5 minutes, then gradually whisk in the butter and cook until just thickened and glossy. Stir in the English mustard, gherkins and the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Spoon over the pork cheeks and serve with mashed potatoes.
James Martin
Saturday Kitchen
slow cooking
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