Saturday, 27 October 2018

Bochechas de porco com puré de nabo,cerezas amarenas, com feixes de feijões franceses finos e bacon

 Pigs cheeks with turnip purée,amarena cherries, bacon and french bean bundles
Amarena cherries, now there´s an opportunity not to be missed I thought. A special offer in the supermarket sent me over the edge of reason and I bought more jars than I will need this side of Trump sending the world into a catastrophic food shortage. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and I needed to find some additional recipes for these delicious bitter-sweet balls of shininess.
Winter is a wonderful time in the Algarve. We get to choose from a wonderful range of winter vegetables. I decided to put a childhood ghost to rest and cook some turnip. As a young schoolboy ,I was not a big fan of turnip. The peppery taste should work well with some slow cooked pork cheeks and I thought that the cherries would balance the flavours too.An umami of salt, fat, sweet, sour, acid and heat was about to erupt.(and I believed that my numerous jars of cherries would balance the flavour in almost anything at this stage).The thespian firmly reminded me that I don´t do and never have done fruit with meat.Correct indeed ,but time to lay another spirit to rest.
Bonus recipe: I also found some fine french beans,some kind of rarity here, to go with this dish.Keeping the pork theme running through I made them into bundles and wrapped them with some streaky bacon (above) which worked really well too. 
Bochechas de porco com puré de nabo,cerezas amarenas
Serves 4
olive oil
pig's cheeks 8, sinew removed
onion 1, roughly chopped
bay leaves 2
celery 1 stick, roughly chopped
white wine 125ml
Somersby cider 250ml
chicken stock 200ml
turnips 3 medium (about 700g), peeled and roughly chopped
whole milk 250ml
green beans 200g
smoked streaky bacon 4 rashers

150g of amarena cherries in syrup
      Heat a splash of olive oil in a large casserole and brown the cheeks, in batches, until golden brown, then remove to a plate. Tip in the onion, bay, celery and wine, and bubble for a few minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the cheeks back to the pan along with the cider and chicken stock, bring to the boil then turn down and simmer over a low flame, covered, for 3 hours or until very tender.
      Remove the cheeks and keep covered with foil on a plate. Pour the sauce through a fine sieve into a pan,add some syrup from the cherries and reduce until thick and sticky, then add the cheeks back in. Reheat to serve.
      Put the turnips into a pan and pour over the milk. Bring to boil then simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until very soft. Purée in a food processor with some seasoning, then tip back into a pan and reheat to serve.
      Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Blanch the beans in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then refresh in iced water. When cool, divide into 4 piles. Wrap each bundle in a streaky bacon rasher and put onto a baking tray. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until the bacon is crisp.
      To serve, spoon turnip purée onto the middle of each plate, then add the bacon-wrapped beans and pig’s cheeks with plenty of sauce. Finish by scattering the  cherries on top.Serve on plentiful plates and tuck in.

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