Pig’s cheeks with barley & wholegrain mustard lentils

Pig’s cheeks with barley & wholegrain mustard lentils

30 mins
Cooking time
120 mins
Deidre Rooney

Pig’s cheeks need to be cooked long and slow but they are worth the effort as the resulting meat is unbelievably tender. They aren’t easy to find but get your butcher to source them for you.

From the grocer


Quantity Ingredient
seasoned plain flour, for dusting
1 tablespoon peanut oil
100ml dry white wine
275ml chicken or beef stock
200g pearl barley
100ml olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
30g butter
225g puy lentils, drained and rinsed
1 dried bay leaf
100ml thick cream
2 1/2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard

From the greengrocer

Quantity Ingredient
70ml lemon juice
2 onions, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra leaves to garnish
1/2 lemon, grated zest

From the butcher

Quantity Ingredient
12 pig’s cheeks, trimmed


  1. Flour the cheeks well. Heat the peanut oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium–high heat and fry the cheeks until well-coloured. Add the wine and 250 ml of the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to very low, cover and cook gently for about 2 hours. The cheeks should be meltingly tender. Watch the liquid: you don’t want the cheeks to dry out but by the end of cooking the liquid should have reduced substantially. Top up with hot stock or boiling water if necessary.
  2. Put the barley in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 30–40 minutes. Drain. Stir in 80 ml of the olive oil, salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice while the barley is still warm. Set aside.
  3. Put the remaining olive oil and half the butter into a large saucepan over a medium heat and sauté half of the onions and half of the celery stalks until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the barley and the remaining stock, stir and heat to boiling. Stir in the parsley and the lemon zest, and taste for seasoning.
  4. To cook the lentils, melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over a medium–low heat and gently sauté the remaining onion and celery until soft but not coloured. Add the lentils, bay leaf and 450 ml water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and remove the bay leaf.
  5. Put the cream in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the mustard, the remaining lemon juice and seasoning. Add the lentils and stir everything together.
  6. If necessary, lift out the cheeks and reduce the juices. Serve with some of the cooking juices and the mustard lentils and barley alongside. Garnish with parsley leaves.
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