Saturday, 08 September 2012 03:19 Written by 
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how to cook with a wow pork cheek ragu by John Cann


·         1kg pork cheek, trimmed
·         500ml good red wine
·         2 tsp fennel seeds
·         1 tsp peppercorns
·         10 sprigs of thyme
·         1 large onion finely chopped
·         2 bulbs of fennel chopped
·         Zest of one lemon
·         2 celery sticks chopped
·         3 fat cloves of garlic chopped
·         2 bay leaves
·         1 tbsp tomato puree  (A tip: for the tomato paste, I puree an equal amount of sundried
         tomatoes in their olive oil and
         use that for the paste rather than using from a jar)
·         1 tin of chopped tomatoes
·         1 tbsp brown sugar
·         30ml red wine vinegar
·         Handful chopped flat leaf parsley
·         Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
·         Grated Parmesan to serve
·         500g papardelle



How to make pork cheek ragu
1. Combine red wine, fennel seeds, peppercorns, 5 sprigs of thyme and pork cheeks in a dish and leave to marinate for as long as possible - overnight would be ideal.
2. Preheat the oven to 140°C, Gas mark 1. Heat oil in a large casserole over a high heat. Remove pork from marinade, pat dry and strain and reserve marinade. Cook pork on both sides until it is well coloured. Remove from the pan and set aside.
3. Lower the heat and fry the onions, fennel, and celery until soft. Add the garlic and lemon zest and fry again till fragrant. Add the tomato puree and fry again for a minute.
4. Pour in the wine and let it bubble, scraping off any caramelised bits of pork from the bottom of the pan - these give real flavour. Pour in tomatoes, sugar vinegar, seasoning and the remaining thyme and bay leaves and add the pork and its juices to the pan. Submerge the pork in the liquid and cover with a lid. Cook in the oven for 4 hours until the meat is cooked through and falling apart.
5. Skim off any excess fat from the ragu with a spoon, remove the pork from the sauce - shred and return to the sauce. Scatter over the chopped parsley
6. Cook pappardelle according to packet instructions, drain and serve with sauce and grated Parmesan.
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