Wooly Pig Cheeks

I decided to cook something different today so last week I ordered some Wooly pig cheeks from
http://www.foodsinseason.com/products/meats/mangalitsa-pork/. Wooly pigs are a breed called Mangalista , which is a highly specialized breed that produces some of the worlds most juicy and flavorful meat. The fat content is actually unsaturated fat and has more fat than normal pork and tastes lighter and cleaner and is healthier . The meat has a stronger flavor and almost double the fat.
Decided that the best way to cook these cheeks is to braise them. The moisture helps break down the tough membranes which should make the meat moist and tender. I started by marinating the cheeks in extra virgin olive oil, fresh thyme, rosemary, chopped garlic and black peppercorns.

I then seared the cheeks in a very hot pan with olive oil until well browned on both sides.

When browned remove them from the pan and add the mirepoix and caramelize the vegetables, add chopped garlic.

I added about 4 cups of a good red wine and reduced this until almost dry. Then add enough veal or beef stock to cover the meat. Add the cheeks back in with the stock. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake in a 325 degree oven until tender, about 2 1/2 -3 hours. Then remove from the oven and let cool. Remove the cheeks from the sauce and strain the sauce through a fine strainer and reserve.

I then made a camalized onion risotto and finished the risotto with a good parmesan and butter.

Warm the cheeks in the sauce.

Place the risotto in a bowl and add some of the sauce. Top with the braised cheeks.

Drizzle a little balsamic cream over the top for a nice sweet sour taste.

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