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Recipe: Pigs cheeks braised in cider

For cider and pork

For cider and pork

I love what AA Gill said in last Sunday’s Sunday Times Style magazine: “Just buy food raw, on the bone, with a head, with slime, with eyes, with fur, with mud, blood and paws. Buy it with roots and scales and spines and pips and shells.” (You can read the full article here). Cook from scratch, pull things out of the ground, use up every last piece of food that you have. Open your mind too – try, for example, cuts of meat you wouldn’t normally eat.

I’m not going to beat myself up about having cheap chicken nuggets for lunch today (I was babysitting, I had what they had – the only thing they would eat. Aaargh! No, the guilt won’t go away), but I am going to try, try, to make more mindful food choices in future. Better to eat pig’s cheeks or tail than said unidentified nuggets. Yawn – offal has been en vogue for ages: but are you making it? Ergo, a pig’s cheek recipe for you to try.


  • 6 pigs cheeks (make friends with your butcher, he will help you)
  • Some flour
  • An onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 750ml of cider
  • 1 litre of chicken stock – put in as needed
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • A little butter or cream


This is a really simple braised dish, but I would recommend Trish Deseine or Stephane Reynaud for fancier braised dishes. This is a good one to start with. Dip the cheeks in seasoned flour, brown them, add the onion and garlic, bay leaf, then the cider and stock. You can substitute the cider for white wine, and add more liquid stock if it seems to be running low. Simmer on a low for 2-3 hours until the meat flakes to the touch, then just before you serve it, add a little cream or cold butter at the very end. You can serve this with some pasta with a knob of butter, some mash, or my old trusty favourite, crusty bread.

Let me know how you get on!


  1. Mmm..want to try this, knw what u mean about nuggets yuck! Are pigs cheeks easy enough to get? Anyone else use them regularly?!

  2. What is really crazy is that in order to buy cheeks (or hearts, even pork belly which is a bit more in vogue) you have to order it in specially from your butcher. They don’t stock these ‘cheap cuts’ or have them out on the counter, at least not around where I live. Maybe in Cork which has always been a great place for weird meat cuts!

  3. Nuggets are made from chicken skin. Mmmmm.

  4. I think it depends what butcher you go to though – there’s a great one in Sandymount, and a fab one in Rialto, and they always have pork belly and often cheeks – but you are right Tammi, I think it goes for everything that’s good for you! Organic veg, you have to do gardening, eating in season, you have to do some research, make your own butter/yoghurt?! Let’s not even go there! Now, where are those chicken nuggets? Jacqueline x

  5. I bought pork cheeks from morrisons and going to do this recipe tonight. I will let you know how it was. I bought the pork cheek for the first time about 2 weeks ago and it was the price that attracted me to it.

  6. Can anyone recommend a butcher who sells pig cheeks in the Dublin North area please? Thanks

  7. Hi Nanazolie!
    I got pigs’ cheeks from the Dublin Meat Company opp Artaine Castle but I had to order them in. I got six for €6 and they were delicious – I used a Portuguese recipe. Hope this helps. Most other butchers I went to said “What do you want THOSE for?”

  8. Thank you D.Nic! I live close by and will order some this weekend. My granny mentioned these a while ago and I really want to surprise her with some slow cooked pig cheeks

  9. Nanazolie, Make sure to tell them you don’t want the whole face – I almost fainted when he came out of the coldroom with a bag of what looked like faces! I told him I only wanted the cheeks and he rolled his eyes and then filleted them for me, only took about 3 minutes. Good luck, make sure you post here how they turned out.