MOVE OVER PORK BELLY...
there's a new kid in town.
PIG CHEEK ROCKS !!!
not that this is any new big discovery, but i have just recently fallen in love. i simply can not explain how unctuous this small little nugget of pig meat is. i've had beef cheeks before and they are absolutely fabulous in this recipe for Beef Cheek Barbacoa, but they are a bear with all the sinew and fatty bits that need trimming. the pig cheeks, on the other hand, are small, thin, clean and easy to work with...i buy mine at one of my favorite Asian markets in Irvine, H Mart.
PIG CHEEK wrapped in BACON ?
the perfect HOG HEAVEN FOR TWO.
but...will serve four generously.
this is what my cheeks looked like. there was a good layer of fat on the other side of the larger one. this was almost 1 pound.
FOR THE RECIPE/INSTRUCTIONS...
please read through...some of it is visual
everything is approx. because you never know what size cheeks you're going to find, but this is what you'll need....
FOR THE ROAST...
pig cheeks....3/4 to 1 pound
1/4 white onion, very thin slices
2-3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
a few dashes of cumin
optional...red pepper flakes or cayenne or chili powder or Mrs Dash South Western Chipotle
9-11 slices long bacon...buy the longest, not the center cut
preheat oven to 325F.
lay the bacon out as shown. the bacon strips that will be wrapping around the outside should be on the board first. the strips that will cover the ends go across. in my case i had 2 pieces so i dressed the first one (photo above) and laid the 2nd on top (not shown) with a few extra sprinkles of salt, brown sugar and spices.
roll the meat first. then wrap the bacon that will cover the ends. next wrap the outer layer. you might need to cut a little bacon off so as not to over lap too much.
pre-cut your strings so you are not fumbling for the scissors...tie the string around the ends first. i used two. then 3 to four strings around the body holding the bacon on. this is not as difficult as you may think, but an extra hand in the kitchen helps hold things together.
FOR THE DUTCH OVEN...
1 to 1 1/2 green apple, cored and sliced thick
1 to 1 1/2 white onion, sliced thick
enough chicken stock to just cover the onions.
brown sugar to sprinkle on top.
place thick slices of onion and apple on the bottom to act as a trivet or rack and place the roast on top as shown.
the roast in photo was in the oven for approx. 3 1/2 hours total.
roast for 2 hours with the lid on. check on the roast. check the liquid. you don't want the roast sitting in liquid. roast for another hour. peek after 30 minutes and give it a poke. is it fork tender?...is it starting to brown? if it is fork tender, but not brown, remove the lid, turn up the oven to 350F and watch it so you don't burn the bacon.
mine fully cooked and browned (as shown) in the covered dutch oven about 3 1/2 hours.
remove the roast and carefully remove the onion ringlets with a slotted spoon. these are delicious pork fat caramelized onions. if the onions are not browned enough, put the dutch oven uncovered back in the big oven without the roast and cook to your satisfaction...don't forget them in the oven while you are noshing away at the pork roast.
LET THE GLISTENING PIG CHEEK REST!
for about 20 minutes
slice and serve...
refrigerate left over...if there is any...but wrap in parchment. the bacon should still be a bit crispy the next day. reheat a nice thick slice on a medium heat skillet, lightly searing both sides.