Low carb cheeky sticky pork chops. An inexpensive yet uber-tasty and satisfying meal.
Right now you’re probably thinking that what’s in the photos does not look like pork chops. You are absolutely right. But it is pork. And it is chops. Have I totally confused you?
Well, it’s a play on words…Perhaps I should explain.
Pork because it is pig meat.
Sticky because the meat and juices together form a sticky, gluey kind of sauce at the bottom of the pan.
Chops because it’s another word for the flesh that covers the jaws area.
Cheeky because it makes reference to cheeks, but when used together with chops, it refers to a cute, pudgy toddler (in English slang anyway).
Still not guessed it?
The meat used in my low carb cheeky sticky pork chops is PIG CHEEKS!!!!
Yep. Pig. Cheeks. I bet you’ve never tried them. You might even be grossed out at the thought. But come on! If you’ve eaten bacon and pancetta you obviously don’t mind eating meat that comes from the belly of a pig. If you like haggis, you don’t mind eating sheep’s blood, heart, lungs and liver. If you enjoy sweetbreads you don’t care that you’re eating the thymus gland and pancreas of a calf or lamb. And never mind black pudding…a blood sausage! So why should anyone feel squeamish about pig cheeks?
And if you think that’s not a good enough argument to persuade you to try this dish, let me tell you that cheeks are one of the cheapest cuts of pork you can buy, but one of the most succulent. Don’t take my word for it. A celebrity chef mentioned this on prime time TV some years ago and I tried them soon after. I was astounded. Pig cheeks have been making regular appearances at my ketogenic table ever since.
I pay around £2.50 for about 250g, which is enough cheeks to serve 2 people generously. If that’s not a bargain, I don’t know what is.
I have my own method of cooking cheeks, which some of you will recognise as my ‘lazy’ favourite. It involves shoving everything in the pan and letting the meat cook on low heat for about 1.5 hours, with just an occasional turn of each piece and a little top up of water from time to time. Whoever invented braising was a genius.
A few staple ingredients, thyme, rosemary and some red wine is all that’s needed to achieve a really succulent keto meal. No bones, gristle, or chewy bits. Just delicious, melt in the mouth meat.
My low carb cheeky sticky pork chops were served with chunks of roasted butternut squash. If you want to stick to even fewer carbs, you can make some cauliflower mash while your pork is simmering away.
Whatever you decide to serve them with, these pig cheeks will be a winner.
- 450-500g pig cheeks
- 100ml red wine
- splash of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot
- 1 garlic clove
- fresh thyme
- a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
- a generous sprinkle of fine Himalayan pink salt
- ground black pepper to taste
- a generous sprinkle of paprika
- a sprinkle of organic beef stock granules
- 1 small squash
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh rosemary sprigs
- fresh thyme
- sprinkle of fine Himalayan pink salt
- black pepper to taste
- chop shallot and garlic and put them in a heavy bottom pan or wok with a splash of olive oil; fry for 1 minute to soften.
- add pig cheeks and sear all sides.
- add red wine and let it evaporate a little, then 60ml water and the rest of the ingredients.
- turn heat down to minimum, cover with lid and braise for about 1.5 hours.
- make sure you turn the cheeks regularly or they will stick; check for dryness after the first half hour and then more and more often as you get to the last half hour of cooking time; add 30-50ml water whenever the juices seem to run a bit dry.
- pre heat oven to 180°C fan.
- cut the squash across its length and width and then cut each quarter in half.
- remove and discard the stringy core and seeds, as well as the hard outer layer.
- cut into rough 3cm chunks.
- pour a generous amount of olive oil into an oven tray, then add squash and all the other ingredients.
- roll the chunks around with your hand so each side is well coated.
- bake for 20 min or until the tip of a knife goes through the largest squash chunk with ease.