Braised pork stew over mashed cauliflower in white bowl on dining table

Recipe of the Moment: Instant Pot Carrilladas – Spanish Braised Pork Cheeks

I’ve been seeing this dark red steak looking meat at the butcher, but I was uncertain what it was until I asked about it this week. These little gems are actually pork cheeks, and they are a favorite dish here in Spain. Having never cooked pork cheeks, a quick look online uncovered a popular Spanish stew in which these are slow cooked for a long time until the meat falls off the bone. While I might be up for this one day, with an Instant Pot, I do not need to be!

Below is a recipe I crafted by combining various sources online. The result is a heart, buttery stew that will satisfy on the coldest of nights. Instead of mashed potatoes, which I felt would be a gut bomb with this fatty cut, I opted for mashed cauliflower, which cut through the richness of the pork quite nicely but still allowed this meal to be hearty and filling. If you can find pork cheeks where you are, you must give this a try!

Carrilladas

Carrilladas are commonly seen in tapas bars in southern Spain. There is a variation of these pork cheeks up north, in Catalonia, which are made with white beans. If you cannot find pork cheeks, oxtails make an excellent substitute, or you can use pork shoulder if you prefer. This recipe uses the red wine found in the south with the simple seasoning used in the north. I added some smoked paprika, because…well…Spain

  • 4 Carrilleras de cerdo (pork cheeks)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  •  3/4 cups (185ml) red wine
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cups (500ml) bone broth
Season pork cheeks with salt and pepper and set aside. Using half the olive oil, sauté the onion in the Instant Pot using the saute function or stovetop on medium heat. When onions begin to soften and caramelize, remove them and add the remaining oil and pork cheeks, searing each side to lock in the flavor. Remove the pork, add to the onions and set aside.
 
Add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to deglaze. Add the pork, sautéed onion, red pepper and carrot and cover with smoked paprika and bone broth. Pressure cook on high for 45 minutes and let pressure release naturally. Serve over mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower
 
¡Buen provecho!
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