Braised Pork Cheeks with Cauliflower and Black Truffle

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Credit: Joseph M. Leonardi, CEC, Executive Chef, Somerset Club, Boston
The National Culinary Review, March 2010


4 pork cheeks
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 T. canola oil
¹/3 cup chopped celery
¹/3 cup chopped carrot
¹/3 cup chopped leek
¹/3 cup chopped onion
1 t. tomato purée
3½ oz. Madeira, divided
1 cup beef stock
1 juniper berry
2 whole cloves
Cold unsalted butter, diced, divided
½ oz. sliced or finely diced truffle
Cauliflower Purée (recipe follows)

Cauliflower Purée
2 t. canola oil
Florets from ¾ head cauliflower
3 oz. diced Vidalia or other sweet onion
3 oz. chicken stock
¼ cup heavy cream
2 T. unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Ground nutmeg


1. Season pork cheeks with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet; sear cheeks. Remove cheeks; set aside.

2. Add celery, carrot, leek and onion to pan; sauté until browned. Stir in tomato purée; cook a few minutes more. Deglaze with all but about 1 T. Madeira; cook until all wine has evaporated.

3.) Preheat oven to 350ºF. Add stock, juniper berry and cloves; bring to a simmer. Place beef cheeks in hot liquid; cover pan. Put in oven; cook until very tender.

4. Remove cheeks from liquid; set aside. Strain cooking liquid into saucepan; discard solids. Season liquid with salt and pepper; whisk in butter until sauce is thick and glossy.

5. In small sauté pan, heat a little butter; warm truffle. Deglaze with remaining Madeira. To serve: Top pork with sauce and truffle. Serve with cauliflower purée and seasonal vegetables.

Cauliflower Purée
Method: Put oil in skillet. Add cauliflower and onion; cook slowly until onion is soft.
Add stock; simmer until cauliflower is tender. Transfer only onion and cauliflower to blender; add cream. Blend until smooth, adding as much of the stock in the skillet as needed. Blend in butter. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.


4 servings


Main Dish, Pork, The National Culinary Review

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