Pork Cheek Stew with Red Wine
This stew is the best from pork cheeks. This dish is gluten and dairy free, paleo and keto diet friendly. The cheeks are meaty little portions, marbled with fat, which make them melt-in-the-mouth tender after cooking. They are quite underused in the Netherlands and I had to order from my butcher especially.
I bought 1.6 kg cheeks for 6 portions, because due to the fat content which melts away during cooking, they shrink quite a bit. Chop them 3-4 cm chunks, not to smaller. Otherwise, the cheeks in the stew will be not juicy.
I add a bit of Merlot to the meat. Don’t miss it! Acidity of the full-bodied red wine makes the meat softer. And the flavor of a good wine gives an extra delicious taste to this dish.
The carrots add a bit of sweetness to dishes, and the mushrooms add a bit of earthy taste. Marjoram and thyme are matching very well with this combination.
Dutch oven is a thick-walled cast iron cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. They have been used for hundreds of years. Dutch oven is called casserole dish also. I think a cast iron cooking pot is one of the most useful pots in the kitchen. I really like to cook in it. The flavors go well together in it, the meats remain juicy and soft after cooking.
The history of the Dutch oven is interesting. An English and a Welsh man invented this iron pot. Abraham Darby visited the Netherlands, where he studied the Dutch methods of working brass, including the casting of brass pots in 1704. He realized that he could sell more kitchen wares if he could replace expensive brass with a cheaper metal. But the initial experiments were unsuccessful. Finally, with the help of one of his workers James Thomas, a Welshman, he invented this cast iron cookware. The procedure was patented in 1710. The term “Dutch oven” has endured for more 300 years.
Dutch Oven Dishes
Pork Cheek Stew with Red Wine
- Dutch oven (Casserole dish)
- 1.6 kg pork cheek
- 100 gram bacon slice into strips 4-5 mm wide
- 1 big onion sliced
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp paprika powder
- 1 tbsp marjoram dried
- ½ tsp chili powder optional
- 150 ml Merlot or other full-bodied red wine
- 400 gram carrot
- 250 gram small button mushrooms cut in half
- 1 tbsp tapioca flour
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper freshly ground
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- Almond cream (or lactose free sour cream if you eat dairy) for serving. It’s optional.
- Cut the pork cheeks into 3 – 4 cm pieces.
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven (Casserole dish, cast iron pot), add bacon and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add sliced onion and sauté for 3 minutes, until translucent.
- Add paprika powder and mix quickly. Add pork cheeks, marjoram, chili powder (optional) and fresh thyme sprigs.
- Let the cheeks brown for about 4 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add Merlot or other full-bodied red wine. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add about 500 ml water, as much as it almost covers. Put the lid on and cook on medium heat for 40 minutes.
- While the stew began to cook, peel the carrots and slice them to 1 cm chunks. Add to the stew immediately and cook together.
- After 40 minutes, check the meat. If it is almost soft, add the mushrooms. Add a bit of water if the gravy is excessively evaporated during cooking. Put the lid on and cook for 15 minutes.
- When the pork cheeks are tender, sprinkle with tapioca flour, stir well. The gravy will be a bit thicker. Add a bit of water if it is too thick or the gravy is not enough. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Serve with fresh gluten free bread, or cooked cassava or potato. It's very delicious with pickles also.
- Add a bit of almond cream, or lactose free sour cream if you eat dairy, to the top. (Optional) Enjoy!