Pork Cheeks with Red Coco Beans

In France, pork cheeks are classified as “les abats” or offal because they are attached to the pig’s head.  The head, considered by no Frenchman ever as a thrown away item, is part of the stripped carcass.  I don’t even understand why the French place the head of anything with les abats, considering their affinity for attached heads.   Just try to buy a headless rabbit here and you’ll see what I mean.

Anyway, I was strolling by Maison Trotoux last week and noticed that his blackboard featured veal kidneys and veal liver so I stepped right in.  I haven’t eaten les abats for about 1 1/2 years because I’m suspicious and distrustful of normal meat handling and processing in the U.S.,  so the insides of anything are out of the question.  Thank the Lord for the French who specialize in making everything edible and safe to eat.  It’s the law! Coincidentally, I was also in the market for pork cheeks in order to make a recipe I found in an old French Saveurs magazine and Trotoux had some; beautiful trimmed and irresistible.

For the last few days the weather has been almost wintry cold with rain.  On Sunday we had a pause in the rain and everyone was happy to get to the picnic table for the usual all day Sunday lunch.  We had lots of wine and we began with an apertif of  Bailly Cremant Chardonnay, continuing with this through the entree of a refreshing salad with quail eggs and cubes of fromage bleu cendre (blue cheese rolled in ash).  I guess I forgot to take a picture of the salad or the camera ate it 🙂

The unseasonable heavy rains have rotted some of the fresh beans in the fields.  These red cocos that I bought were picked before time and were a little green, taking longer to cook. There was one green bean in with the bean pods that pleased me and led me to imagine a romantic, pastoral scene of the farmers harvesting in their bean fields, putting me in remote touch with the source of my food 😀

Lardons, onions, garlic, fresh cherry tomatoes, oregano and basil sorted the negativity of the not quite ripe beans.

I even included the lone green bean.

M. Parret brought over well aged bottles of Morgan and Epineuil from his cellar for the main course.  I’d like to say we sipped instead of guzzled, but I can’t remember 🙂

Le Parret criticized this tarte because Kevin bought it at a supermarket.  He called it “industrialized”.  I think he was a little befuddled by the wine once we got to the dessert because he ate a very large piece with relish 😀

Pork Cheeks with Olives

12 pork cheeks, seasoned with salt and pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 large carrots, sliced

2 celery branches, sliced

1 tbsp flour

10 ounces of a yellow cooking wine (like Chateau – Chalon)

2 cups water

1 bouquet garni

3-4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 1/2 cup nicoise olives (substitute kalamata if not available)

Brown the cheeks on both sides in two batches then set aside.  Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pan and cook until onion is soft.  Put the cheeks back in the pan, sprinkle with the flour, then cook and stir for about 1 minute.  Add the wine and stirring, reduce for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the bouquet garni and garlic, then place in a preheated 350 oven for 1 hour, covered.

Remove the cover, stir in the olives and return uncovered to the oven for an additional 30 minutes.












About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
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10 Responses to Pork Cheeks with Red Coco Beans

  1. Nadia says:

    My kind of meal! I love that you added the lone green bean.
    I wonder what M Parret does when you are in the US; he must miss you and your cooking terribly.

  2. Chris says:

    Brilliant, I have some pig cheeks in my freezer that I need to use, so this is the perfect solution. look forward to trying this recipe very soon.

  3. Wonderful meal and it’s good to see M. Parret again and looking so well!

  4. Mad Dog says:

    The rural French can be quite direct, but I’m all for honesty above pleasantries . Those look delicious – I might try cooking cheeks with olives later in the week. It’s lovely to see M. Parret on fine form – where’s the cheese plate?
    I’ve just escaped alive from the London trade drinks show – the high points were Black Cow vodka (by product from their delicious cheese), Sharish Blue Magic Gin from Portugal and Unicorn Tears Gin!

  5. chefkreso says:

    Yummy! Thanks for sharing I can make this for my family dinner 🙂

  6. Michelle says:

    All’s right with the world. OK, not, but I’m glad to see you back where you belong. 😉

  7. It all looks delicious!! Our weather has been pretty warm, so I’m steering clear of as much cooking as I can! 🙂

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