It is very unusual for me to try a new cut of meat, mainly because I am a curious and greedy eater and have had a stab at most things, with the exception of tripe which I really don't fancy. However, one of the latest "trendy" cheap cuts being lauded everywhere are pigs' cheeks.
I had seen this recipe from Diana Henry's new book in a recent Daily Mail feature, and I was tempted to try it the next time, or indeed if at any time, I saw these on a butcher's counter.
My friends at Waitrose obliged yesterday. And how. 7 pigs' cheeks came in at the princely sum of £1.64, and they weren't even Reduced To Clear. I was already impressed.
Lentils are a no go-area in this house. Chris won't try them because he had them once during the war, or some such nonsense. I prefer my mother's refusal to eat them. She was torpedoed coming back from Singapore at the beginning of World War 2 and spent some time in a POW camp where lentils were almost the only food available. She is not a fussy eater at all but cannot look a lentil in the eye, let alone eat one.
I varied the recipe slightly. The floured cheeks were fried with chopped celery and onion and then cooked very slowly in dry cider in the oven for 2 hours. I then added cream and Dijon mustard, reduced it a little and served it with pappardelle and peas.
A real triumph. They were gloriously moist and tender, a bit like a piggy version of shin of beef. Lovely, lovely, lovely.
But I bet they'd be even better with Puy lentils.