Pork and gooseberries are such a wonderful combination. Even if it’s just a simple pork chop or roast pork loin that you are cooking, a gooseberry sauce will bring it to heightened tastebud delights. Pork cheeks taste a lot better when slow-cooked, as they become tender and succulent. The vermouth cuts through the fat of the pork, adding a sweet flavour, but you could use white wine instead if you wish. The celeriac puree is delicious served alongside these pork cheeks.
Slow-cooked Pork Cheeks, Vermouth and Gooseberries with Celeriac Puree (Serves 4)
8 pork (pig’s) cheeks
2 tablespoons olive oil
400ml hot chicken stock
200ml dry vermouth
2 sprigs fresh thyme
sea salt and freshly ground
For the celeriac purée
700g celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks
100ml single cream
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 Preheat the oven to 140C/gas mark 1.
2 Prepare the pork cheeks by trimming the excess fat around the edges, but leave a little fat on the cheeks, as that adds great flavour.
3 Heat the oil in a casserole over a high heat. Add the pork cheeks and seal on each side, then pour in the stock and vermouth. Add the thyme and gooseberries. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the casserole and place in the oven for 2 hours.
4 While the pork cheeks are slow-cooking, make the celeriac puree. Put the celeriac in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Once the water has started boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the celeriac is cooked through. Drain and set aside.
5 Place the butter, cream and nutmeg in a small saucepan over a low heat and gently warm together, then pour over the cooked celeriac. Season and mash well or whisk using a hand whisk.
6 To serve, spoon the celeriac puree on to four warmed plates and place the cooked pork cheeks on top. Spoon the gooseberries and sauce from the casserole over the pork cheeks