50 gmpork back fat, finely chopped (see note)2 tspannatto seeds (optional, see note)1onion, finely chopped6cloves of garlic, finely chopped 400 gm(about 3) tomatoes, blanched, peeled and coarsely chopped 2 tspthyme leaves2fresh bay leaves8beef cheeksFor dusting:seasoned flour80 ml (1/3 cup)extra-virgin olive oil1 tbspsmoked sweet paprikaLarge pinchsaffron threads500 ml (2 cups)manzanilla fina sherry (see note)40 ml (2 tbsp)sherry vinegar500 ml (2 cups)chicken stock¾ cupSpanish green olivesParsley and anchovy salad2red shallots, thinly sliced2anchovy fillets, coarsely torn1 cupcoarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves½lemon, juice and finely grated rind only60 ml (¼ cup)extra-virgin olive oilTomato bread4thick slices of ciabatta or sourdough bread60 ml (¼ cup)extra-virgin olive oil1clove of garlic, halved1very ripe tomato, halved
Heat pork back fat in a casserole over medium heat until fat renders (about 2 minutes). Push pork pieces to one side of casserole and add annatto seeds to the other side. Stir seeds (without incorporating pork) until colour has leached from them (about 1 minute), then remove seeds from pan and discard. Reduce heat to low, add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft (about 10 minutes), then add tomato and herbs and cook until tomato breaks down (about 20 minutes). Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
Preheat oven to 160C. Dust beef cheeks with seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add beef cheeks and cook each side until brown (about 5 minutes), then transfer to casserole. Add smoked paprika and saffron to pan, then deglaze with sherry and sherry vinegar. Add liquid to casserole with stock. Turn to coat beef cheeks and bake, covered with a lid, for 2 hours, then add olives and cook, basting occasionally, until meat is tender (about another 2 hours).
Reduce temperature to 120C. Drain sauce from casserole into a large saucepan and cook over high heat until reduced to a thick sauce (about 20 minutes), then return to casserole and keep warm.
Meanwhile, for parsley and anchovy salad, combine ingredients in a bowl and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
For tomato bread, heat a chargrill pan over high heat. Brush bread with oil on both sides and grill each side until golden (about 2 minutes each side). Rub each side with cut side of garlic and tomato, squeezing the tomato as you rub, then serve immediately with beef cheeks and parsley salad.
Note Pork back fat is available from select butchers; you may need to order ahead. Annatto seeds, used in Spanish cooking to impart colour to dishes, are available from Herbie’s Spices. Manzanilla fina, a light, dry sherry, is available from liquor stores, or substitute another dry sherry or dry white wine.