Chef - Kevin Snook
Ark of Taste Products - Berkshire Pig and Medlar
Producers - Sheepdrove Organic Farm
Berkshire producer and chef come together in this recipe, celebrating two of our Ark of Taste products. Pig cheeks, quite rightly, are making a bit of a comeback, due to their relatively low cost and fantastic flavour. Kevin here twice cooks the cheeks, first braising in cider before finishing on the barbecue for a crispy, smokey finish.
– Once the Medlars have been harvested and washed allow them to dry and soften on a wire rack in a cool area. This process is called Bletting. When they are ready, they become soft to the touch.
– Quarter the unpeeled Medlars and cooking apple, and place into a large pot with the lemon half.
– Add 2 quarts (2.2 Litres) of water and heat gently to a light boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes / 1 hour.
– Strain overnight through a cheesecloth allowing it to drain naturally. Do not apply pressure or squeeze the bag as the jelly will go cloudy.
– Measure the juice (it should yield about a quart / just over a litre) and add the sugar, amending the amount to suit the quantity of juice. On a gentle heat, melt the sugar. Increase the heat and cook until the mix reaches 104°C / 220°F.
– Add an additional splash of lemon juice if you wish to offset the sweetness.
– Reserve until ready to use or transfer to sterilised jars.
– Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well.
– Transfer to a braising pan and cover.
– Put into preheated oven for 4 hours at 80°C / 170°F. Allow to cool slightly.
– Carefully remove the cheeks, pat dry and set aside.
– Strain the cooking liquor and reduce over the heat until it thickens a little, enough to coat the back of a spoon.
– Meanwhile, pre-heat your barbeque to a high heat – I prefer to use the Green Egg Barbeque over charcoal.
– Brush the cheeks with a little oil and place on the barbeque.
– Allow the surface to caramelise and brown then turn them over (about two minutes).
– Reduce the heat a little and brush the cheeks with the reserved cooking liquor.
– Close the lid allowing the flavours to merge into the cheeks – this takes an additional 2-3 minutes – keeping them moist with a crispy exterior.
Serve family style on a platter with the Heritage Medlar Jelly and preferred seasonal vegetables to accompany.