Javier is a Basque born, trained chef and hospitality professional, owner of Basco Fine Foods, a Spanish food and drink importer based in Yorkshire. He regularly runs client food and drink events around the country and he is a course tutor at Hartingtons of Bakewell cookery school. Javier’s passion lies on bringing quality Spanish ingredients and recipes to as many people as possible.
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Pork cheeks are quickly becoming a popular ingredient in restaurant menus and tapas recipes. The best pork cheeks that you can use come from black Iberian pigs known as Cerdo Ibérico, which are fed on a diet of grass and acorns. The colour of Iberico cheeks is darker than standard pork cheeks and they tend to be slightly smaller but if cooked well, the flavour of these bad boys is incredible. Rich, nutty and intense, Iberico pork cheeks are a braising meat that needs flavour from root vegetables, stock and wine to make the dish worthwhile. In this recipe, I braise the cheeks for 3 hours in amontillado sherry, made from 100% Pedro Ximenez grapes. The PX sherry provides the richness to the dish and a distinctive aroma of raisins, coffee and chocolate. The perfect pairing to these cheeks is some creamy potato mash flavoured with roast garlic and a cold glass of amontillado sherry. Cheeks taste better if made the day before.