Braised Tongue and Cheek in Cider

Martin Blunos makes delicious work of some parts of the pig usually forgotten by other chefs
By Martin Blunos
Braised Tongue and Cheek in Cider
  • Rating:
  • Cook Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus chilling time
  • Effort: hard

Ingredients

For the tongue

  • 75 g smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
  • 1 fresh pig's tongue
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp salt

For the pigs cheeks

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 6 pigs' cheeks, trimmed
  • 250 ml sweet cider
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 250 ml chicken stock
  • 20 g unsalted butter
  • freshly ground salt and black pepper

Tips and Suggestions


This is good served with a 'bubble and squeak' style mixture made with steamed leeks and boiled new potatoes that you have lightly crushed. Mix them together, season with salt and pepper and fry in a little oil and butter.

Method

1. Remove the skin from the bacon and reserve for cooking the tongue. Cut the rest of the bacon into 5mm lardons and set aside for use with the pigs' cheeks.

2. Wash the tongue in cold water and place in a large pan with 1 bay leaf, 6 peppercorns, salt and reserved bacon skin.

3. Add just enough cold water to cover the ingredients then bring to the boil. Skim the surface of any foam then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the point of a knife is easily inserted into the thickest part of the tongue.

4. Leave the tongue to stand in the cooking water until it is cool enough to handle.

5. Discard the cooking water and peel the thick outer skin from the tongue. Place the meat in the fridge to chill.

6. Meanwhile, prepare the pigs' cheeks. Heat a frying pan and, when hot, add the lardons of bacon and fry for about 5 minutes or until coloured. Transfer the bacon to a flameproof casserole.

7. Add the onion, garlic, remaining bay and peppercorns to the bacon, then the pigs' cheeks. Pour in the cider, vinegar and stock.

8. Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2. Bring the casserole to the boil on the stovetop, then cover and place in the oven for about 60-90 minutes or until the cheeks are tender.

9. Remove the casserole from the oven and lift out the pig's cheeks and bacon, setting them aside in a warm place.

10. Strain the cooking liquor into a saucepan, bring to a boil and boil hard until the volume of liquid has reduced by two-thirds. Meanwhile, slice the chilled tongue lengthways.

11. Whisk the butter into the sauce and adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

12. Reduce the heat and add the pig's cheeks, bacons and sliced tongue and heat through gently before serving.

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