A rustic pork cheek stew with beetroot, gingerbread and brown beer… Does that sound like a funny combination? Yes, you are absolutely right… but it works though!
In Belgium we sometimes add gingerbread to stews to thicken the sauce and to make it a tad sweeter. Especially when it comes to beef and beer stews!
I have kept this dish on my recipes to do list for quite some time: a delicious pork cheek stew!
However I didn’t really know where to get pork cheeks.
But hey, last week my local supermarket opened after remodelling the place. And their array of products also changed quite a bit. I mean, there’s just more choice.
New Butcher’s Section
And the butcher’s is now run by a separate butcher’s chain.
And to my utter surprise I stumbled upon a lovely portion of pork cheeks! I don’t have to tell you how happy I was. So I immediately checked my recipe drafts on my phone in Evernote and bought the rest of the necessary ingredients for this recipe.
Pork Cheek Stew with Beer & Beetroot
I add a good splash of my local brewer’s dark ale, a couple of slices of gingerbread and diced beetroot. Does that sound like a funny combination?
You are absolutely right… but it works!
You can often find gingerbread in stews in Belgium, especially in beef stews. It thickens the sauce nicely (no need to use flour, starch or sauce thickener) and it also adds sweetness and depth of flavor.
Maybe 6 pork cheeks might seem a lot for 2 persons.
But they shrink tremendously while cooking, believe me! You can prepare the stew in a crockpot but then I would recommend to add the gingerbread and beetroot half an hour before the end of cooking time.
You still want some crunchy in those beets.
Do you love cooking with beetroot?
Then you should also check out my beetroot soup with sweet potato!
Pork Cheek Stew Recipe with Beer & Beetroot
Pork cheek stew with beetroot and brown beer!
- 6 pork cheeks
- 3 cups Belgian dark ale (720 ml)
- 4 garlic cloves unpeeled
- 2 medium fresh beetroots
- 2 slices gingerbread diced
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter or lard
Pour the flour in a deep plate and season with a pinch of pepper and salt. Coat the pork cheeks on all sides lightly and shake off any excess flour.
Add the butter (or lard) and rosemary sprig to a high non-stick pan and place this over high heat until the butter (or lard) has melted.
Then add the floured pork cheeks.
Sear and brown them quickly on all sides. Then also add the garlic cloves and the dark ale. Season with a pinch of pepper and salt.
Stir again and then turn the heat low. Let the pork cheeks simmer and braise in the beer for about 2 hours. You can also prepare this recipe in a crockpot of course. In the meantime peel and dice the beetroot. After 2 hours add the diced gingerbread to the stew.
Stir well. Also add the diced beetroot.
Cook the stew for another 25 to 30 minutes until the gingerbread has dissolved, the sauce has thickened and the beetroot is tender. The pork cheeks should be very soft and smooth by now. Check the seasoning and add extra pepper or salt to taste. Remove the rosemary and scoop the pork stew onto warm plates. Serve hot.