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Pigs’ cheeks braised in apples and cider. Slow cooker/crock pot recipe.

pigs in sty

pigs in sty

The Chicken Lady, who writes the excellent blog Kitty’s Super Allotment, was cooking pigs’ cheeks with apples when I popped in a few weeks ago.
“I think that the butcher just sliced them off the head. Look there’s a piece of ear.”
Initially I felt a bit squirmy about tasting this dish. But these were quite delicious – the skin crispy yet soft and the meat similar to slow cooked belly of pork.

Celia from Purple Podded Peas had mentioned pigs’ cheeks to me ages ago and I’d forgotten all about them. In fact at the time I secretly thought.
“Pigs’ cheeks? Yuk. Probably similar to those rubbery pigs balls that I ate in Majorca. The latter was hailed as the Treat of all Treats as the post castration village supper. ”

Time has moved on and I’m willing to try almost anything these days.

Gliding past the Waitrose meat counter I spotted pigs’ cheeks in the forgotten cuts section. The price was £2.99 a kilo! These didn’t have skin but the price encouraged me to invest in 500g there and then.

The lady butcher shared her recipe. “I sliced a large onion and sautéed it slowly with balsamic vinegar until the onions began to caramelise. Then I put the onions and chopped pigs’ cheeks into the slow cooker. I covered them with dry cider, added sage and simmered them for about three hours.”

I had some cooking apples knocking about in the kitchen so added some of these a la TCL. Danny loathes sage so I added thyme instead. The resulting dish was sublime, melt in the mouth pork in a gorgeous, rounded sauce. This dish would feed four greedy people and could be padded out a bit with vegetables to feed more. However we enjoyed having freshly steamed veg as they balanced the richness of the dish.

Pigs’ cheeks braised in apples and cider recipe

500g of pigs’ cheeks chopped into 2 cm chunks

1 large red onion, peeled and sliced

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 teaspoons of Balsamic vinegar

2 heaped tablespoons of seasoned flour

1 large cooking apple or 2 medium ones (peeled and quartered)

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

Dry cider to cover

Sauté the onions gently in the olive oil for a couple of minutes and add the Balsamic vinegar. Continue to fry very gently until the onions start to caramelise.
Meanwhile cut up the pigs’ cheeks and roll them in the seasoned flour.
Peel and quarter the cooking apples.
When the onions are ready, place them in the bottom of the slow cooker. Put the apples and pigs’ cheeks on top of the onions. Cover the meat apples and onions with dry cider. Add the thyme.
Set the slow cooker to high and when the cider is bubbling turn to low and simmer for about three hours or until the pork is tender. (check after 2 hours).
Serve with mashed potatoes, carrots and peas. A glass of chilled dry cider is great with this.

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  1. My local Morrisons sell them – not a large store so possibly available throughout the chain. However, indicative of how meat prices have risen as they are £5.50 per kilo now.

  2. as an alternative try them in the same way but instead of apple use Apricots and Figs with a few Sultans in white wine rather than Cider Al la the Spanish, luverly!!

  3. OMG! I’ve just made this dish and it is scrumptious!

    I used pig cheeks which I got half price from Waitrose coz they were short dated. Bargain of bargains!

    I used thyme, but agree that sage would be good too. I also added a head of celery which I wanted to use up.

    It’s been simmering in the slow cooker while I’ve been working from home. The smell was soooo good and the dish is seriously yummy :0)

  4. Tanya @ Lovely Greens

    Forgotten cuts section? Why doesn’t my butcher have something like that?!

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Tanya

      He probably keeps them for himself if he butchers his own meat!

  5. This reminds me of my father who loved brawn and the like and especially pigs trotters. He was also a bit of a practical joker and one he day walked down the road pushing my little brother in his pushchair with a pig’s trotter clamped to the handle as a substitute hand. Needless to say my mother walked several paces behind him!

    • Fiona Nevile

      I roared with laughter at this comment. A pig’s trotter hand is priceless :0)

  6. Sounds wonderful, I must try that. I am a recently converted fan of pig cheeks, and am looking for new ways to cook them.

    I hadn’t thought of roasting them Ragnar, but will give it a try.


  7. i used to get roast pig’s cheek from the market’s in cardiff and ponty but unfortunately now i live in southampton and can’t find’s lovely hot or cold

  8. oooh Fiona-don’t tell them about the pig cheeks in Waitrose- those are MY secret pig cheeks and very,very yummy they are too!

  9. Magic Cochin

    Did I say that?

    Sounds just the thing for a cold frosty evening – I’d use sage… I love sage with pork and apples 🙂


    • Fiona Nevile

      Yes you did! It was ages ago when you’d just found the Farmer’s Weekly cook book 🙂

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