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Emeril's Delmonico Crispy Pork Cheeks with Creole Dirty Rice

Oct 22, 2012 at 1:28 PM Chime in now

Recipe from Emeril’s Delmonico by Spencer Minch, courtesy Emeril Lagasse

Dirty rice is a staple in Louisiana’s Creole cooking. Spencer Minch, the chef de cuisine at Emeril’s Delmonico, created this recipe for crispy pork served over Creole dirty rice. Chef Spencer confits the pork cheeks – cooking them covered with oil in the oven at a low temperature until they are fork tender. He then sautés the pork in a little butter until they are slightly crispy. The dirty rice is delicious all by itself, but the pork cheeks are definitely worth the effort. This dish has developed quite a following in New Orleans and one of the most popular dishes at Delmonico!

Yield: 4 servings


2 1/2 pounds pork cheeks, cleaned and trimmed of all tough membranes
8 cloves garlic
6 sprigs  fresh thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
Vegetable oil, as needed
1 cup flour, or more as needed for dusting
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Creole Dirty Rice, for serving


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Place the pork cheeks, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and coriander seeds in a baking dish just large enough to hold the pork in one layer. Add enough vegetable oil to completely cover the pork. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until cheeks are fork-tender, usually 4 to 4 1/2 hours. (Note: this will depend on the size of pork cheeks you are able to procure, so check periodically during the cooking time.) When the pork is tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the oil. Once cool, remove the cheeks from the oil and pat dry with paper towels. (Oil may be strained and used for another purpose.)

3. Dust the cheeks lightly with flour. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and, when oil is hot, add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Sauté the cheeks, in batches if necessary, until golden brown on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and repeat with remaining cheeks, adding more vegetable oil and remaining butter if necessary.

4. Serve the cheeks hot, with the Creole Dirty Rice.

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