If you don’t already, it’s time to get to know Carrillera de Cerdo, or pork cheeks. This cut, which has been mostly flying under the radar, is uniquely both lean and moist. When cooked properly, it has a melting, silky texture and terrific flavor.
Carrillera de Cerdo is a traditional Spanish dish. José Lariño, chef at El Pote Español in Murray Hill, shares his recipe below. As for how pork cheeks found its way onto his menu, Lariño visited Valencia two years ago, tried authentic pork cheeks for the first time, and knew he had to recreate the dish for his restaurant.
Carrillera de Cerdo (Pork Cheeks)
2 ounces olive oil
8 pieces pork cheeks
flour, for dusting
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-sized carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 shot brandy (3 ounces)
3 shots red wine (9 ounces total)
1 sprig thyme
String beans (optional)
Heat the oil in a large oven-proof pan. Flour the pork cheeks, and sauté them, 2 minutes on each side. Add chopped garlic, carrots, onion. Sauté for 5 more minutes. Add black pepper to taste.
Pour in brandy, and cook for 2 minutes. Then add wine and cook for 5 minutes. Finally add the thyme.
Cover the pan and put in oven for 1 hour at 375 F.
Serve with boiled string beans and broccoli.
(Recipe from José Lariño, El Pote Español, 718 Second Ave., 212-889-6680, ElPote.com)