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Tender Braised Pork Cheeks from Spain

Winter is the perfect time to try new recipes. We are more willing to try new things or to eat those foods that we avoid during the summer because they give a feeling of heaviness.

If you are looking for holiday recipes or very winter recipes, then you are in the right place. 

Here we will show you everything you need to know about braised pork cheeks, also known as the fantastic pork cheek recipe from Andalusia.

Braised pork cheeks dish on a white plate served with mashed potato on a wooden table. Tender Braised Pork Cheeks from Spain.

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You are going to learn how you can cook this Spanish pork, in two main methods.

You will also learn about the changes you can make to the ingredients, and some extra tips so you can serve and store this dish.

Background of the Dish

closeup with pork cheeks with gravy on a plate decorated with salad.

Pork recipes are very popular in the south of Spain since it is a type of animal that abounds in the region. 

In the 1700s they began to breed to replace the high consumption of beef. People started to get more creative and developed pork cheek recipes.

Spanish pork dishes became popular again at the beginning of the 2000s when the crisis began due to the “mad cow disease”, actually known as Bovine spongiform encephalopathy. 

This caused the consumption of beef to decrease and the popularity of pork to increase.

Among them, the braised pork cheeks stand out. Wine braised pork cheeks are usually braised or stewed due to the high amount of fat (and collagen that looks like a gelatinous coating on meat) makes them ideal for those cooking methods.

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Things You’ll Need for Braised Pork Cheeks

To make this Spanish pork stew you only need pork cheeks, wine, broth, and some vegetables to give the sauce the right flavor. 

With a large pot, it is enough, and with a pressure cooker, you will finish cooking it much faster.

fresh pork cheeks on a plate for the braised pork cheeks recipe.

Ingredients

  • 8 Carrilleras de cerdo (pork cheeks)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 3/4 cups (650ml) beef broth
  • 2 3/4 cups (650ml) red wine
  • 1 cup (125g) Flour
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

How to Make Braised Pork Cheeks – Step by Step Guide

preparing pork cheeks recipe in a pot
  1. The first thing you need to do in this Spanish pork recipe is to remove the fat from the outside of the pork cheeks with a knife. Season with salt and pepper and pass the cheeks through the flour, shaking them to remove all the excess.
  1. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over high heat, and mark the cheeks on both sides, (that is, let the meat slightly brown). Set aside.
  1. One of the most important things about this Spanish pork roast is having the right amount of vegetables. For this, you have to wash and chop the peppers, garlic, carrot, and onion. 
  1. In the same pot, add a little more oil and sauté the vegetables over medium heat, without burning them, stirring from time to time, until they are soft. It should take about 10 minutes.
  1. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the red wine, raise the heat and let the alcohol evaporate, for about 2 minutes. Add the Carrillada, the beef broth, a pinch of salt, and pepper to taste and cook over low heat for at least 1 hour and a half. When the carrilladas de cerdo are tender you can turn off the stove.
  1. Remove the cheeks from the pot and blend the sauce with a blender, so that it is fine.
  1. Put the sauce back in the pot and bring it to a boil so that it thickens.
  1. For the final step, serve the pork cheeks in the sauce. The classic way to serve this Spanish pork dish is with mashed potatoes, but it is completely optional.

Substitution of Ingredients

closeup with spanish pork in gravy.

These braised pork cheeks stand out from other easy pork recipes because you can make a lot of changes in the ingredients without any problem.

For example, the flour is used to make it easier to seal the pork cheek, and also to make the sauce thicker later, but you can avoid it or replace it with another type of flour (oatmeal, bran, almond, gluten-free, etc.).

Also, instead of red wine, you can use another type of wine. Red wine gives it the right flavor, but if you don’t want or can’t include alcohol in the recipe, just use more broth to even out the amount.

You can also make beer braised pork cheeks or sherry braised pork cheeks if you want to use another type of alcohol.

If you don’t have all the broth you need, you can use the amount of water needed to reach the amount listed.

You should also add more vegetables and seasoning so you don’t end up with a watery or tasteless sauce.

Also, you can choose to use another protein instead of pork cheeks. The most natural replacement would be pork chops, pork shoulder, or pork knuckle.

However, you can use another protein, though it will be more like a Spanish chicken stew, Spanish oxtail stew, or the Spanish pork chops recipe.

Tips on Serving Braised Pork Cheeks

Carrilladas de Cerdo with boiled potatoes and gravy on a white plate.

Braised pork cheeks are one of the most popular pork recipes for dinner since they have a large amount of flavor and are very filling. 

They are the perfect dish for winter since they have that heartwarming feel once you eat them, but you can prepare them at any time of the year.

You can also eat it during lunch, although you may have to take a nap afterward since it is very filling and you will have to use your energy in digestion.

If you are looking for a slightly lighter meal, the best pork recipes in that sense are pork chops or eat a smaller portion of this Spanish roast pork.

To give you some pork dinner ideas, you can serve these pork cheeks with mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, sautéed vegetables (carrots, broccoli, anything), or a good green salad (lettuce, kale, cabbage, etc.).

How to Store Braised Pork Cheeks

How to Store Braised Pork Cheeks. A photo with different products in a fridge

As with other braised pork recipes, there are two main ways to store: freeze the pork cheeks, or store them in the fridge. These forms of saving have some things in common.

In both cases, you should let the Spanish pork come to room temperature. You can let this happen in the same pot where you cook.

Then, put them in a Tupperware or covered bowl and save them.

In the fridge, they can last up to 4 days. Then you can heat it in a pot adding a little more liquid (better if it is water since broth would make it very salty). Or in the oven or the microwave, also adding a splash of water.

Some recipes with pork cannot be frozen, but these braised pork cheeks are the exception. Take them to the freezer and there they can be stored for up to 30 days.

Recipe Card: Braised Pork Cheeks

Yield: 8

Braised Pork Cheeks Recipe

spanish pork chops in a white plate served with mashed potato on a wooden table.

Winter is the perfect time to try new recipes. We are more willing to try new things or to eat those foods that we avoid during the summer because they give a feeling of heaviness.

If you are looking for holiday recipes or very winter recipes, then you are in the right place. 

Here we will show you everything you need to know about braised pork cheeks, also known as the fantastic pork cheek recipe from Andalusia.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 Carrilleras de cerdo (pork cheeks)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 3/4 cups (650ml) beef broth
  • 2 3/4 cups (650ml) red wine
  • 1 cup (125g) Flour
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Remove the fat from the outside of the pork cheeks with a knife. Season with salt and pepper and pass the cheeks through the flour, shaking them to remove all the excess.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil over high heat and mark the cheeks on both sides. Set aside.
  3. Wash and chop the peppers, garlic, carrot, and onion. In the same pot, add a little more oil and sauté the vegetables over medium heat, without burning them, stirring from time to time, until they are soft. It should take about 10 minutes.
  4. When the vegetables are cooked, add the red wine, raise the heat and let the alcohol evaporate, for about 2 minutes. Add the cheeks, the beef broth, a pinch of salt (if the broth is salty, do not add salt), and pepper to taste and cook over low heat for at least 1 hour and a half. When the cheeks are tender you can turn off the stove.
  5. Remove the cheeks from the pot and blend the sauce with a blender, so that it is fine.
  6. Put the sauce back in the pot and bring it to a boil so that it thickens.
  7. Serve the pork cheeks in the sauce.

Notes

To reduce the cooking time in this pork cheeks recipe, you can use a pressure cooker.

Put the valve in position 2 and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let all the steam escape before opening the pot.

Among all the types of pork meat there are, many believe that the best part of the pork is the pork cheeks.

If you don't like it, you can use pork chops as the ideal replacement, and cook for less time (40 minutes total should be enough).

Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 158Total Fat 13.6gSaturated Fat 3.4gCholesterol 60mgSodium 398mgCarbohydrates 19.5gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 23.8g

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