NEW Recipes: Niall McKenna's pork cheeks with polenta
WE have just returned from enjoying a family holiday in sunny Italy and as a chef I love taking the opportunity to experience new cuisines and tasting produce in a new environment.
We found that a lot of the dishes we consumed in Italy used the same produce we use at home but were cooked in a completely different way or served with a different accompaniment - this had a huge impact on flavour.
Pork cheeks are an ingredient used widely in Italy and have been on the menu in our restaurant for a while now. This week's recipe - pork cheeks cooked in a rich red wine and served with a creamy polenta - has been inspired by my experience abroad.
Polenta is an ingredient that we always have in our cupboards at home and makes a delicious alternative to pasta or potatoes.
PORK CHEEKS WITH PRUNES
14 pig cheeks, fat trimmed
1 bottle of red wine - Shiraz works best
1/2 bulb of garlic, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
Plain flour for dusting
50g unsalted butter
4 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
1.5 litres chicken stock
12 prunes, stone removed
Start by placing the trimmed pig cheeks in a bowl, add in the wine, cover and place in fridge for 6 hours.
Place a casserole dish on a medium heat, add in the oil and cook off the garlic, carrot and onion until browned. Reduce to a low heat.
Take the pig cheeks out of the wine and keep the wine for cooking. Pat the pig cheeks dry with a clean cloth and dust with flour. Add the cheeks to the casserole and caramelise alongside the vegetables.
Add in the butter, thyme and bay leaves and cook for a further three minutes. Pour over the wine and stock and bring to the boil. Skim off any impurities and reduce heat to a simmer.
Add in the prunes and place the lid on the dish, cooking for a further 90 minutes, continually skimming off impurities. Test that the cheeks are tender and if not, cook for a further 30 minutes.
Taste and season if required before serving.
1 litre full fat milk
350g polenta flour
50g unsalted butter
75g grated Parmesan
Start by placing the milk into a pot and bringing to the boil.
Whisk in the polenta until it dissolves and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Cook on a low heat for 30 minutes and season to taste. If cooked, add in the butter and Parmesan and whisk until all is combined.
Season to taste and serve with a glug of olive oil on top.