Pork cheek with crispy ham hock bon bon, crushed swede and mustard apple compote

About

Geoffrey Smeddle prepares a lavish pork cheek recipe with an attuned balance of flavours. Creamy, sweet swede nicely undercuts the richness of the pork, while the spiced apple compote elevates this satisfying dish.

Type: Main

Serves: 8

Ingredients

BRAISED PORK CHEEKS

  • 8 pork cheeks
  • 1/2 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 50ml of olive oil
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 1/2 fennel, finely sliced
  • 75ml of brandy
  • 100ml of white wine, reduced to 50ml
  • 60ml of fish sauce
  • 60ml of light soy sauce
  • 1 dash of rice wine vinegar
  • 1000ml of brown chicken stock
  • 2 lemon grass stalks
  • 100g of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • vegetable oil

HAM HOCK BON BON

  • 1 ham hock
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp grain mustard
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g of flour
  • 80g of Panko breadcrumbs
  • salt
  • vegetable oil

SPICED APPLE COMPOTE

  • 5 red apples, peeled and chopped
  • 200ml of ruby port
  • 150ml of red wine
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 peppercorns
  • 10g of grain mustard
  • 1 knob of butter
  • salt

CRUSHED SWEDE

  • 1 swede, diced to 1cm
  • 20g of butter
  • 5g of grain mustard
  • 1 tbsp of chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

CRACKLING

  • 1 slice of pig skin, 10 x 15cm
  • salt

GARNISH

  • 1 handful of pea shoots
  • 2 baby carrots

Method

Step 1.

Use a sharp paring knife to remove all the sinew from the pork cheek, place onto a small tray

Requires

  • 8 pork cheeks
Step 2.

Next, place a large heavy based pan over a medium heat. Add enough vegetable oil to coat the base of the pan, sweat off the shallots, carrots and fennel until soft and lightly golden

Requires

  • 1 carrot, finely diced
    2 shallots, finely diced
    1/2 fennel, finely sliced
Step 3.

Add the brandy and white wine and reduce by half. Then, add the fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, chicken stock, lemongrass and ginger. Bring to the boil, reduce to a gentle simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover with cling film and allow to cool

Requires

  • 75ml of brandy
  • 100ml of white wine, reduced to 50ml
  • 60ml of fish sauce
  • 60ml of light soy sauce
  • 1 dash of rice wine vinegar
  • 1000ml of brown chicken stock
  • 2 lemon grass stalks
  • 100g of ginger, thinly sliced
Step 4.

Remove the pork cheeks from the fridge and add to the braising liquor. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, approximately 1 hour. Once ready, the cheeks will hold their shape, but easily fall apart when cut into with a knife

Step 5.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, spices, thyme, rosemary and olive oil. Add a generous pinch of salt and mix together. Pour the mix over the pig cheeks and rub to coat evenly. Place in the fridge and allow to marinate

Requires

  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1/2 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 50ml of olive oil
Step 6.

For the crackling, preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4. Cut the pig’s skin into 1/2cm strips and place onto a lined baking tray, cover with another piece of baking parchment

Requires

  • 1 slice of pig skin, 10 x 15cm
Step 7.

Use a second tray of the same size, to place on top and press the skin down gently. Roast in the oven for 20-30 mintues, or until crispy. Remove, season with salt and keep in a warm place until ready to serve

Requires

  • salt
Step 8.

Remove the ham hock from the pot and allow to cool. While still warm, flake off the meat with your hands and chop finely

Step 9.
Pass the liquid through a fine strainer until very salty. Add a little of the reduction and the mustard to the chopped ham hock to bind together
Required
  • 1 tsp grain mustard
Step 10.
To cook the ham hock, place into a suitable pot and cover with water. Add the carrot, onion, garlic, herbs and spices. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the meat comes away from the bone, approximately 1 hour
Required
  • 1 ham hock
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 2 star anise
Step 11.
Form into small, walnut-size balls, place on to a tray and leave to firm up in the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge and prepare 3 bowls for coating
Required
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g of flour
  • 80g of Panko breadcrumbs
  • salt
Step 12.
Evenly coat each bon bon in flour, egg and then breadcrumbs. Repeat the egg and breadcrumb step to add an extra coating
Step 13.
For the compote, place all the ingredients, except for the mustard and butter, into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until all the liquid has been reduced and absorbed and the apples are soft
Requires
  • 5 red apples, peeled and chopped
  • 200ml of ruby port
  • 150ml of red wine
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 peppercorns
Step 14.
Transfer to a blender, add the mustard, a small knob of butter and process until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and store in a squeeze bottle
Requires
  • 10g of grain mustard
  • 1 knob of butter
  • salt
Step 15.
Squirt a circle of the compote into the middle of each plate and drag the bottle around to form a tail shape, arrange the hot bon bons on top. Arrange a small amount of the hot swede opposite and lay each cheek on top. Finish with the crackling, a shaving of baby carrot and pea shoots. Serve immediately
Requires
  • 2 baby carrots
  • 1 handful of pea shoots
Step 16.
For the swede, gently boil in salted water until firm, but cooked. Drain, add the butter and mustard and mash gently with a fork. Stir through the chopped herbs and season to taste with salt
Requires
  • 1 swede
  • 20g of butter
  • 5g of grain mustard
  • 1 tbsp of chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Step 17.
Before serving, reheat the cheeks in the cooking liquor, warm the swedes and drop the bon bon’s into a deep fat fryer at 190˚C for 2 minutes until golden brown
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