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Mar 1, 2007 10:14 PM

crispy pigs cheek

I am quite eager to cook some pigs cheeks and my butcher has confirmed he will provide me with them.
After scouring the internet I havent really found the recipe i would like. I am quite disapointed to find that Fergus Henderson's book does not include St. Johns crispy jowls.

-does anyone have any recipes/advice for crispy pigs cheeks?

-also do I want skin on or off for these babies, and how many cheeks on average to serve per person for a main course?

(once i conquer cheeks i am moving on to stuffed trotters)

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  1. Cheeks are a different league from trotters, much easier after. They are a solid blob of muscle that needs to be braised slowly. The babbo cookbook has a good recipe. You can substitute them for stew meat in most recipes and just adjust the cooking time. I doubt you will have any option about skin-- they are generally sold skin off. Jowl is not the same thing as a the cheek. And you probably won't be receiving the jowl either-- processed as a different entity. All of this will vary if you are buying from a farmer.

    As for crispy, good luck. They don't really lend themselves to that. It is basically a stewing cut. I have had them crusted (removed lame crust before eating) and one time a chef tried to do a carnitas-like preparation by deep frying them briefly (pointless). Are you sure you have the right cut in mind? The jowl, cut from around the cheek, is thin, tougher, and lends itself to curing.

    1. We have had crispy jowls and tossed them with garlic sauteed in EVOO in and dressed pasta with them.
      Also had them cripsy, served on frisee with a light vinaigrette; I will add a poached egg next time I make this for brunch.

      1. Mario Batali's latest book, Molto Italiano, has a recipe for guanciale, cured pig jowls. Not sure if this is what you're looking for, though I thought I'd mention it.

        1. I havent tasted them but St. John in london definitely offers crispy pig cheek with dandelion salad.(i think)