When it comes to Spanish cuisine, there are countless mouthwatering dishes that have gained international recognition. One such dish is “receta carrillada,” a traditional Spanish recipe that showcases the rich flavors and culinary heritage of the country. In this article, we will explore the origins of receta carrillada, its ingredients, the cooking process, and some variations of this delectable dish.

The Origins of Receta Carrillada

Receta carrillada, also known as “pork cheek stew,” has its roots deeply embedded in Spanish gastronomy. This dish originated in the region of Andalusia, specifically in the province of Seville. It was traditionally prepared using the cheeks of Iberian pigs, which are known for their tender and flavorful meat.

Over time, receta carrillada has become popular throughout Spain and has even made its way into the menus of many Spanish restaurants around the world. Its unique combination of ingredients and slow cooking process has made it a favorite among both locals and tourists.

The Ingredients

Receta carrillada typically requires the following ingredients:

  • 4 pork cheeks
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 2 cups of beef or vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for cooking

These ingredients come together to create a harmonious blend of flavors that make receta carrillada a truly delightful dish.

The Cooking Process

Preparing receta carrillada requires time and patience, as the slow cooking process is essential to achieve the desired tenderness and flavor. Here is a step-by-step guide to cooking this delicious dish:

  1. Start by seasoning the pork cheeks with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat some olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Sear the pork cheeks on all sides until they develop a golden brown crust. This step helps seal in the juices and enhances the flavor.
  4. Remove the pork cheeks from the pot and set them aside.
  5. In the same pot, add the chopped onions, garlic, carrots, and red bell pepper. Sauté them until they become soft and fragrant.
  6. Pour in the red wine and let it simmer for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate.
  7. Add the beef or vegetable broth, bay leaves, and the seared pork cheeks back into the pot.
  8. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the carrillada simmer for at least 2 hours. The longer it cooks, the more tender and flavorful the meat will become.
  9. After the cooking time has elapsed, remove the bay leaves and skim off any excess fat from the surface.
  10. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve the receta carrillada hot with your choice of side dishes, such as mashed potatoes or crusty bread.

The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a dish that is both succulent and aromatic.

Variations of Receta Carrillada

While the traditional receta carrillada recipe is undoubtedly delicious, there are also several variations of this dish that offer unique twists and flavors. Here are a few examples:

  • Receta Carrillada with Pedro Ximénez: This variation adds a touch of sweetness to the dish by incorporating Pedro Ximénez, a sweet Spanish dessert wine. The wine’s caramel-like flavor complements the richness of the pork cheeks perfectly.
  • Receta Carrillada with Mushrooms: Adding mushrooms to the stew creates an earthy and savory dimension to the dish. The mushrooms absorb the flavors of the sauce, making each bite even more delightful.
  • Receta Carrillada with Citrus: Infusing the stew with citrus fruits, such as oranges or lemons, adds a refreshing and tangy element to the dish. The citrus notes balance out the richness of the meat, creating a harmonious flavor profile.

These variations allow you to experiment with different flavors and tailor the dish to your personal preferences.


1. Can I use a different type of meat for receta carrillada?

While pork cheeks are the traditional choice for receta carrillada, you can also use beef cheeks or even lamb cheeks. The cooking process remains the same, but the flavors may vary slightly depending on the meat you choose.

2. Can I make receta carrillada in a slow cooker?

Absolutely! The slow cooker is a convenient alternative to the stovetop method. Simply follow the same steps of searing the meat and sautéing the vegetables before transferring everything to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours until the meat is tender.

3. Can I freeze receta carrillada?

Yes, receta carrillada freezes well. Once the stew has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container or freezer bags and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating it on the stovetop or in the microwave.

4. What are some side dishes that pair well with receta carrillada?

Receta carrillada pairs beautifully with a variety of side dishes, such as:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Crusty bread
  • Polenta
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Steamed rice

These side dishes complement the rich flavors of the stew and help soak up the delicious sauce.

5. Can I make receta carrillada ahead of time?

Receta carrillada is a perfect make-ahead dish. In fact, it tastes even better the next day as the flavors continue to develop. Prepare the stew in advance, let it cool, and refrigerate it overnight. Reheat it gently on the stov


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