Ben Spalding Christmas

Ben Spalding’s Piggy Cheeks Recipe

We’re collaborating with top London Chef Ben Spalding to bring you a series of exciting recipes to try at home. This isn’t a conservative recipe you’ll find somewhere else. This is adventurous. This is cutting-edge. This is what you’ll come to expect from our series with Ben. Are you ready to venture out of your cooking-comfort-zone? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s Talk About Ben Spalding

You may have heard he’s trained at some of the world’s finest Michelin starred restaurants including Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. And you might already know about his creative flair and unique style of cooking. But if this is your first introduction to Ben, you’re about to become accustomed to a whole new level of innovative cooking. Ben broke away from the typical fine dining attitude and built upon his own experimental ideas. And now you can take his no-nonsense, honest style of cooking and recreate it at home.

“Piggy cheeks are absolutely delicious.  They’re so easy to cook and taste beautiful with this mouth-watering flavoured sauce.  The half butter, half potato mash is a delightful complement to the dish and healthy, no nonsense roasted roots with mince pie gravy to give it a festive twist.” – Ben Spalding.

Glazed & Tender Piggy Cheeks, Half Butter Half Potato Mash, Roasted Winter Roots & Mince Pie Gravy

Serves 4 People




Piggy Cheeks Ingredients
20 x good quality free range pork cheeks (ask your butcher to remove the skin for you) 500g quality red wine (any fruity or full bodied type will do)
3Ltr chicken stock (shop-bought or homemade) 1 onion - peeled and cut into quarters
1 carrot - peeled, top and tailed and kept whole 1Ltr veal stock (shop-bought or homemade)
6 cloves of garlic - peeled 200g soy sauce
Maldon sea salt 200g orange marmalade
Sunflower oil 50g marmite

Method

  1. Lay the pork cheeks on a tray and coat very lightly with sunflower oil then mix well with your hands. Now dry your fingers and season the cheeks well with Maldon salt.
  2. On a medium to high heat, heat 2 large non-stick frying pans until smoking then add sunflower oil and caramelise the cheeks until golden brown on each side. Use tongs to remove them from the pan.
  3. In the same pan using the same oil add the onion, garlic and carrot and fry for 15 minutes turning regularly until golden brown and caramelised.
  4. Now add the red wine and reduce by half. Then add the stocks, marmite, marmalade and soy sauce. Incorporate thoroughly.
  5. Lower the heat and let the flavours come together for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile get a deep wide pot and add the caramelised pork cheeks into them. Add the two frying pans of caramelised vegetables and stocks over the top. Add 1 litre of warm water and bring the pot to a simmer.
  7. Lower the heat ever so slightly and ensure the liquid at the corner of the pot is just bubbling. Then leave the meat to cook for 4 hours.
  8. Check the meat halfway through and top up with a little water if the meat is poking out of the top.

Half Butter-Half Potato Mash Ingredients
1 kilo of quality potatoes for mash such as Desiree 100g whole milk
500g salted butter - diced Maldon sea salt

Method

  1. Peel the potatoes.
  2. Cut each potato into 8 pieces and add to a pot and add 4 times the amount of water and 2 good sprinkles of salt.
  3. Bring the water to a fast simmer and simmer until the potatoes are fully cooked and falling apart.
  4. Meanwhile add the milk and half the butter to a wide medium sized pot and warm until melted – keep the milky butter warm.
  5. Set a colander over the sink and pour the potatoes in then leave for 10 minutes to drain the excess liquid and moisture.
  6. Add the potato to the milky butter and keep over a low heat, work the mashed potato with a Maurice (rubber spatula) using force for a solid 2 minutes.
  7. Add the butter in 4 stages. Add the first 1/4 of butter in and beat it in for 1 minute then repeat with the remaining 3 parts.
  8. Check the mash for seasoning and keep warm until serving. 

Roasted Winter Roots Ingredients
6 large carrots – peeled, top and tailed and split in half lengthways 6 large parsnips – peeled, top and tailed and split in half lengthways
1 celeriac – peeled and sliced into 6 chunky discs Olive oil
1 large purple beetroot – peeled and cut into 16 pieces Maldon sea salt

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Add each vegetable to a separate bowl big enough to work in.
  3. Add a good coating of olive oil and coat the vegetables with your hands well.
  4. Now dry your fingers and season the veg well with salt all over.
  5. Line 4 separate roasting trays with tin foil.
  6. Spread the vegetables out on each tray in a thin and even layer.
  7. Now roast the vegetables for 30 minutes then turn them and roast for a further 45 minutes until fully golden and starting to burn on the edges (this is good for flavour!).
  8. Set aside until ready to serve.

Mince Pie Gravy Ingredients
Piggy cheek braising liquor 3 high quality mince pies (from the packet is fine)

Method

  1. Strain off the pork cheek braising liquor and reduce by 2/3.
  2. Meanwhile scoop out the insides of the mince pies and into a bowl, discard the pastry.
  3. Once the gravy has reached the right consistency add the mince pie filling and keep at a low heat until ready to use.
  4. Finish with one small tablespoon of crème fraiche into the middle of each plate before beginning to plate the dish.
Equipment from
Small Baking Trays Mixing Bowls Large Roasting Pans
Peeler Non-Stick Frying Pans Deep Pot
Tongs Colander Chopping Board
Whisk Knife High Heat Spatulas
Cutlery Dinner Plates Electronic Scales

Feeling inspired by this recipe? Let us know how you got on by posting a picture on our Home Chef Facebook page.

And make sure you keep an eye on our blog for the next Ben Spalding recipe. Subscribe to Ben's YouTube channel if you want to find out more about him and his culinary conquests.

By Briony Cook

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