PV Smoked Pig Cheek with Mussels and Orzo


The cheek or jowel is sometimes the forgotten part of the animal, and usually added to sausages. However it makes a great pancetta or bacon and has just the right amount of fat. Adding a light smoke also enhances the flavour even further. With the addition of a rich, simple tomato sauce and a few lightly steamed mussels makes a perfectly balanced, slightly different dish.


For the sauce,

1. Heat the oil add the onions and garlic cook for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the wine and tomato puree and cook for a further 5 minutes.
3. Finally add the tomatoes, vinegar, stock cube, sugar and salt and pepper.
4. Cook down slowly for 10 minutes until thick and pulpy.
5. In a separate pan heat the oil in a wok or pan.
6. Add the bacon and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
7. Add the tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
8. Add the orzo and mussels and sauce, just warm through.
9. Finally add the fresh herbs and season well, serve asap.
Copyright Phil Vickery
November 2012 


Prep time: 20min

Cook time: 15min

Serves: 5

  • For the sauce

  • 4tbsp olive oil

  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped finely

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 glass dry white wine

  • 2tbsp tomato puree

  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes in juice

  • 2 ripe fresh tomatoes, chopped

  • 2tbsp wine vinegar

  • 1 vegetable stock cube

  • 1tbsp castor sugar

  • 4tbsp olive oil

  • 350g smoked cheek pancetta, very sliced thinly

  • 250g cooked Orzo pasta

  • 350g cooked mussels, removed from the shell

  • 4tbsp fresh basil, chopped

  • 4tbsp fresh parsley chopped

  • salt and pepper