Emeril’s Delmonico Pork Cheeks

SOURCE: Emeril Lagasse, Emeril’s Food of Love Productions, 2008

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

2 1/2 pounds pork cheeks, cleaned and trimmed of all tough membranes
8 cloves garlic
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
Vegetable oil as needed
1 cup flour, or more as needed for dusting
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 recipe Creole Dirty Rice, for serving

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the pork cheeks, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and coriander seeds in a baking dish just large enough to hold the pork in one layer. Add enough vegetable oil to completely cover the pork. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until cheeks are fork-tender, usually 4 to 4 1/2 hours. (Note: this will depend on the size of pork cheeks you are able to procure, so check periodically during the cooking time.) When the pork is tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the oil. Once cool, remove the cheeks from the oil and pat dry with paper towels. (Oil may be strained and used for another purpose.)

Dust the cheeks lightly with flour. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and, when oil is hot, add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Sauté the cheeks, in batches if necessary, until golden brown on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and repeat with remaining cheeks, adding more vegetable oil and remaining butter if necessary.

Serve the cheeks hot, with the Creole Dirty Rice.

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