Simply Simon’s…BBQ pig cheek bagel with apple ketchup

Actor, writer, director, producer and television presenter, Simon Delaney has a genuine passion for food – a passion which saw him make the final of Celebrity MasterChef 2017.

Simon loves diner food and the fact that day or night, summer or winter, you can have your favourite comfort food dish, whenever you want it. SIMPLY SIMON’S, his new cookbook, is all about choice and delicious, comforting food – whatever you want, whenever you want it.



The pig cheeks for this recipe can be prepared by your butcher – just ask them to trim them for you and they’ll be ready to go. It’s also a cheaper cut of meat, and because we’re going to use my favourite cooking method, low and slow, it’ll deliver big time on flavour. The addition of the tasty little apple ketchup will give this sandwich a nice balance. Sweet pork and tangy apples are a marriage made in heaven – or at least in my house, twice a week.

Serves 4

For the bagels:

olive oil, for frying

8 pig cheeks, trimmed by your butcher

150ml cider

50ml water

2 star anise

1 tsp mustard seeds

75ml soy sauce

4 bagels

For the apple ketchup:

3 granny smith apples, peeled and cored

85g granulated sugar

85ml cider vinegar

bunch of fresh basil

juice and zest of 1 lemon

Preheat your oven to 150°C. Grab a big casserole dish with a lid. Put the casserole dish on a medium heat. Add a little olive oil, pop the pig cheeks in and cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes. When done, add the cider, water, star anise, mustard seeds and soy sauce and mix together. Pop the lid on and place in the oven. Cook this for 3 hours, low and slow.

In a small pan, heat a drop of olive oil, add the apple and let it colour a little. Then add the sugar and allow this to caramelise. When you’re happy that the apples are nice and soft, add the cider vinegar and a splash of water. Cook this gently for another 10 minutes. When done, pop the mixture into a food processor and add the basil and the juice and zest of a lemon, and blend until nice and smooth. Remove and chill in a covered bowl in the fridge.

When the pork is cooked, remove it from the casserole dish and pop it onto a plate. Put the casserole dish back on the heat and allow the cooking liquor to reduce until it becomes a nice glaze. In a bowl, break the meat up using a couple of forks and add a couple of spoonfuls of the glaze to it. Mix well and check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, toast the bagels, fill with the pig cheek mix and top off with a dollop of that tangy apple ketchup. Divine!


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