carrillada (aka pig’s cheeks)

I wasn’t planning on making carrilladas today, and had never made them before. Though I’ve had them several times at tapas bars and especially love the ones they serve at Bodeguita Romero. Anyhow, there I was in the supermarket and I saw these rather plump pig’s cheeks and thought – what the heck. After I got home I scoured the internet looking for a recipe and I started to despair when I saw most of them called for a pressure cooker. So what I ended up doing was taking ideas from about four different recipes and incorporating them into one. And I must say they turned out amazing! Served here with mixed veg and a bit of potato purée.

Recipe and instructions below the links…

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  • 4 pig’s cheeks (about 1/2 kilo)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 head garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 granny smith apple, diced
  • 1 cup (250 ml) dry sherry
  • 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water
  • olive oil
  • coarse sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Salt & pepper the pig’s cheeks and sear in a pan with just a bit of olive oil. In a large pot sautée the onion, garlic, carrot and apple in a splash of olive oil until just tender, then add the seared pig’s cheeks and the sherry. Simmer on medium heat until most of the sherry has evaporated, then add a cup of boiling water, cover, and simmer on low heat for about an hour, or more, until the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Remove the pork and thicken the sauce. Because I was also making puréed potatoes I ended up doing the same to the veg & apple mixture, which made for a nice creamy sauce without having to add any thickener.

carrillada collage

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10 Responses to “carrillada (aka pig’s cheeks)”

  1. noggin Says:

    And very nice it was, too!

  2. Wandering Coyote Says:

    Oh, we had to eat beef cheeks in culinary school ALL THE TIME and it was TORTURE! Pig cheeks…I don’t know… These actually look WAY WAY better than the crap we were served! I would try these because you made them & recommend them.

    • azahar Says:

      I’ve never tried beef cheeks, and have never seen them served here in tapas bars. Why did they make you eat them all the time in culinary school?

      Anyhow, you must try pig’s cheeks! I double-dog dare you not to love them. But you have to be sure to cook them long enough, until they are almost falling apart when you spear them with a fork. I think I get now why most of the recipes called for a pressure cooker. But the slow-cooking stove-top method works very well – you just have to be more patient.

      I also recommend puréeing the veg & apple mixture afterwards to make a sauce. I just whipped around a blender stick for about a minute. It was sooo flavourful and went perfectly with the pork. Mmmm…

      • Wandering Coyote Says:

        Long story about the beef cheeks, but basically, the students were fed crap food and failed experiments, not the good stuff that was served in the restaurant. The onese we were served were tough, unchewable, and disgusting!

  3. azahar Says:

    Sounds like they just weren’t cooked properly, or long enough. I’m thinking the pork cheeks would also turn out great in a slow cooker.

    Making pulled pork this afternoon… have really perfected that dish since the first time I made it.

  4. Wandering Coyote Says:

    I HAVE to get on my horse and make a pulled pork soon! That particular cut of meat, however, is a significant chunk of my weekly food budget, though.

  5. nursemyra Says:

    I love beef cheeks! Now I’ll have to try the pork variety

  6. carrillada de tenera (aka beef cheeks) « azahar's kitchen Says:

    [...] ago I made my first ever pig’s cheeks and they turned out to be a resounding success that I have made several times since. Then I saw [...]

  7. 5 Best Carrillada Ibérica in Sevilla | azahar's sevilla blog Says:

    [...] Or you could try making them yourself. [...]


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