🐷 Returning to the Roots - PORK CHEEKS
At one time a feast in Ireland was not complete without a whole roasted pig on the table but then modern diets fell out of love with nose-to-tail, preferring the prime cuts. In recent years though, many are looking for more sustainable ways of cooking and preparing food which is where Irish chefs have turned an eye to their own history and finding new and creative ways of making use of a whole animal in their cooking to avoid food waste - using organs for patés, bones for broth, fats for crispy potatoes and the tougher meat cuts for braising. This week Chef Daniel will show you a dish using pork cheek (and if you’re feeling adventurous you can even have a go at getting a pig’s head from the butcher to try your hand at butchering the cheeks yourself) which he combines with pearl barley - an Irish heritage grain with a long history.
Share with the community
Share this week’s creation in the community with your peers or some of your learnings. If you have any questions around the butchery, sourcing meat or even if you’re after some tips on how to use up leftovers, Daniel will be happy to help answer. Access the community forum by clicking the button below.
📺 Watch and Learn - Rassa Stories
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Sea Foraging on North Bull Island
People have been foraging for edible plants in Ireland for centuries but much of this traditional knowledge has been lost. Watch as Chef Alison guides you through foraging for sea vegetables.
Dunany Flour
The traditional mills which exist today are not only a homage to what has come before but also play a key part in a more sustainable future. Meet Andrew and Leonie Workman of Dunany Flour.
📘 Lessons For The Week
Recipe Development - Braised Pork Cheeks
Daniel takes you through the thinking behind his dish explaining how to balance fat and acid, the techniques behind getting the most out of a cheaper meat cut and the importance of supporting smaller growers and producers when sourcing ingredients.
Ingredients Introduction - Braised Pork Cheeks
This week you’re working with a wonderful native supplier, Wildwood Vinegars, which produce a botanical vinegar using elderflower foraged from the Wild Atlantic Way. Daniel will also explain how to check for freshness, making sure your meat is safe to eat.
Hands On Learning - Braised Pork Cheeks
If you’re keen to get messy, you can take on some butchery removing the pork cheek from the head or source the meat pre-cut from your local butcher. You’ll be using an ancient grain thickened with a carrot puree to go along with your braised pork cheek and finishing off the dish will be a fresh fennel salad adding balance to the dish.
💭 Creative Inspiration
carrot jam - insert text
Exploring Ireland’s iconic flavours would not be complete without a look at apples. Nowadays, there are over 70 distinct Irish varieties of apple trees, and we can thank them for moreish apple pies, sparkling cider and this sweet chutney.
📖 Further Reading
Ireland naturally lends itself to seasonal cooking. Its mild temperate climate creates some high quality produce. Chefs more than ever are using local farmers and producers, and cooking in line with the seasons to make sure they’re working with ingredients when they are at their best. Have a read to find out more.
Cooking with the Seasons
Given Ireland's mild, wet climate the harvest season is long and fruitful, which is why many Irish chefs opt for seasonal cooking.