yesterday we went to the garden center to get some flowering plants. the sun was shining and spring is definitely here now.
when we got back, as my mom-in-law and Sam lounged in the garden, i started making my take on 'stoofvlees', which is just a meat stew usually made with beef, but i made it with pigs cheeks. please believe me when i say this, i had never used pigs cheeks before, but i don t think i ll ever be using any other cut again for making this stew... the meat becomes so wonderfully tender after 3 hours braising, and is so flavorful.
well, here s how i did it...
PIGS CHEEKS STEW:
1 kg of pigs cheeks, cut into halves or quarters
4 medium sized onions, roughly chopped
6 medium sized carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
6 rashers of bacon, cut into small pieces
half bottle of good red wine, i used Côtes du Rhône
300 ml water
two large sprigs of thyme, two large sprigs of rosemary and a good handful of sage
pepper and salt
beurre manié (30 gr butter mixed with 30 gr plain flour)
1. in a braising pan, sauté the pigs cheeks in hot olive oil until browned. do this in batches so the cheeks don t cook, but caramelize!
2. remove the cheeks from the pan, then lightly sauté the bacon pieces with the onions, garlic and carrots.
3. return the pigs cheeks to the pan, add the wine and the water, add the herbs (some might want tot tie the herbs together but i keep it very rustic), add salt and pepper (not too much, best to adjust the seasoning when it s cooked) and leave to simmer on a very low heat for at least 3 hours, but 4 would be good too.
4. when nearly done, add the beurre manié, and leave to thicken a bit, then adjust seasoning.
serve with fries (traditional) or crusty bread to soak up the gravy, and a simple green salad and homemade mayonnaise.
1 egg yolk
1 heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard
pepper and salt
white wine vinegar
i do this a l'occhio (meaning, measurements are not quite so important here...)
start by beating the egg yolk and the mustard
slowly, slowly add the oil in a very thin stream while beating the egg mustard mixture
it will emulsify and become thicker, and you can then add more and more oil as is needed
when the mayo has become quite thick, add a teaspoon of white wine vinegar and pepper and salt to taste (instead of vinegar, adding lemon juice is also very good)
please never ever add sugar!
if and when the mayo should split just add a few drops of hot water to the mix, and beat, it should emulsify again quite quickly.
voilà, made for a great traditional Belgian meal... and after dinner another glut of watching Jamie's Italy and feeling completely contented...
and today is sunday...