Do you use Groupon or LivingSocial? If you don't you might be missing out on fabulous and inexpensive ways to eat at some of the most popular local restaurants in your area.
We discovered Allium Bistro in West Linn, OR through a Groupon offer a few years ago and about once every 6-12 months, they place another offer through Groupon or LivingSocial and it gives us the opportunity to dine at their fabulous restaurant with about a 30% discount.
The last meal we ate there had to be of the best meals that I have eaten in a Portland (metro) area restaurant....EVER! And...it was the first time that I ever had pork cheeks and they were amazing.
Cheek meat is really some of the best meat on an animal....be it halibut, beef or pig. It's an often overlooked cut of meat that is uniquely lean and tender. Cooked the right way, cheek meat will instantly become your favorite.
This isn't the exact recipe I had at Allium, but it's a simple way to prepare pork cheeks if you have never made them before.
Braised Pork Cheeks
(8) 4 ounce pork cheeks
salt and pepper
1/2 cup AP flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups hard apple cider
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 rib celery, diced
Season pork cheeks with salt and pepper. Sprinkle lightly with flower and press into meat to coat.
Heat butter in pan over medium heat. Sear meat on both sides until browned. When checks are done browning, transfer to a plate to rest.
Add onion, carrot and celery to the pan and cook until softened. Add vinegar and stir to de-glaze the pan. Pour in the cider and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add sage and rosemary.
Add cheeks back into pan, cover and reduce temperature to low. Cook until fork tender, but not quite falling apart, about 2-3 hours, depending on the size of each pork cheek.
Remove cheeks from the stock and set aside. Bring liquid to a boil over high heat, skimming off fat as it rises to the surface. Reduce the volume of the liquid about 70%. Sauce will start to thicken up. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
Transfer cheeks back to liquid. Continue to cook over medium heat until cheeks are re-heated through, fall apart-tender and the sauce is thick enough to coat the cheeks.
Serve on a bed of creamy polenta with roasted baby carrots.
Picture courtesy of me (this was my meal in March at Allium)