Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Skinny Mexican Pork Cheeks

After making my Lower Calorie Chicken Fajitas a couple of weeks back, I got to thinking about how this method of cooking would work really well with my latest favourite cut of meat - pork cheeks.

The lean cheeks need gentle and slow cooking for 2-3 hours to really come into their own and so this makes a great weekend dinner or one to pop into your slow cooker mid-week. They carry flavour really well and with long cooking, become soft, tender and melt-in-the-mouth delicious, so I thought this would be a great dish and happily wasn’t disappointed.

As I’ve raved about before, pork cheeks are incredibly economical – I picked up 300g which is more than sufficient for two people for less than £1.50 – perfect for January when most are feeling the pinch.

This is a great warming winter dish with a smoky spice – serve with some romaine lettuce leaves rather than a wrap and this comes in at just under 450 calories for half of the below. I added 50g of cauliflower rice (coarsely grated cauliflower) fried in the tiniest bit of coconut oil with spring onions and coriander to bring the calorie count up to 510.

I served this with some coriander and spring onion fried cauliflower rice and some romaine lettuce leaves – but if you’re not in fat-fighting mode, this would be great in a wrap or a bun. 

Skinny Mexican Pork Cheeks

Here's how:
  • 4 pork cheeks
  • 1 packet Old El Paso Smoky Barbecue Fajita Seasoning
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 bay leaves 
  • Selection of 2 different coloured bell peppers
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 red chilli
  • 100g mushrooms
  • Tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Chipotle paste
  • 100ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch black pepper
Firstly pop the oven on at around 160 degrees and place a non-stick pan on a low heat. Season the pork with half of the Old El Paso seasoning and dry fry to seal each piece of meat then place into a casserole dish.

Now finely slice the onions, mushrooms, garlic, peppers and chilli and add to the pan with the tinned tomatoes, chipotle, cinnamon, remaining Old El Paso, bay leaves and seasoning. Pour over the chicken stock and give a good stir then cover with a lid or some foil.

Now place the dish into the oven for three hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so. The longer you cook this dish for the more tender and delicious the pork cheeks will be – after three hours it will fall apart at the gentlest of touches – not dissimilar to pulled pork.

Tip: If you’re in a huge rush, pop the casserole dish into the microwave for fifteen minutes before placing into the oven and this should shave off 30-45 minutes off of the cooking time.

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