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Braised pork with cider and curly kale

Serves 4
  • @HixRestaurants

A few butchers and good supermarkets are now selling pork cheeks. They're a great cut of pure meat and they have natural marbling, so the meat stays moist during slow cooking.

500-600g pork cheeks, cut into 4-5cm chunks or left whole if small
60g butter
1tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, peeled, halved and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g flour, plus some for dusting
500ml dry cider
700ml chicken stock
250-300g curly kale, thick stalks removed and torn into 2-3cm pieces

Season and lightly flour the pork cheeks. Heat a heavy frying pan with a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil and fry the cheeks on a high heat for a few minutes, browning them on all sides, then drain on some kitchen paper.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and gently cook the onion for 2-3 minutes until soft, add the flour and cook on a low heat for a minute, then gradually add the cider and stock to avoid lumps forming; bring to the boil, add the pork cheeks, season and simmer gently for about 1-1½ hours or until the cheeks are tender.

The sauce should have reduced and thickened; if not, remove the cheeks and simmer the sauce until thick, then return the cheeks.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the curly kale for 2-3 minutes, or until tender; drain.

To serve, divide half of the kale up and place in the centre of serving dishes, spoon the cheeks and sauce on top, then scatter the rest of the kale over.