Monday, July 26, 2010


serves four

For the beef cheeks
4 x 13oz beef cheeks, trimmed
1 pint, 7 fl oz red wine
2 carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
1 large onion, peeled, quartered
4 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves
4 fresh bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
10 black peppercorns
1 star anise
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon tomato purée
1 teaspoon plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the ox tongue
17½oz ox tongue
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only
2 x 11¼oz jars duck fat
1 free-range egg, beaten
Japanese panko breadcrumbs, for dredging
Vegetable oil, for deep frying

For the spring greens and bacon stir fry
2 teaspoons butter
½ onion, peeled, finely chopped
4oz Carmarthenshire bacon, cut into lardons
1 head spring greens, finely shredded
1 tablespoons honey, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

For the parsnip mash
4 parsnips, peeled
4 floury potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Piper, peeled
4oz butter, melted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the beef cheeks, tie the beef cheeks with kitchen string to form small parcels. Pour the red wine into a large glass or ceramic bowl and add the carrots, onion, celery, leek, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and star anise. Add the tied beef cheek parcels, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.

For the ox tongue, place the tongue in a glass or ceramic dish. Mix together the salt, freshly ground black pepper and the thyme leaves and rub the tongue all over with the mixture. Cover and leave to cure overnight in the fridge.

The next day, preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1.

Remove the cheeks and the vegetables from the marinade (reserve both). Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan, then add the beef cheeks and cook, turning, until well browned. Remove and place in a flame-proof lidded casserole dish.

In the same pan in which you seared the meat, add the vegetables from the marinade and cook over a medium heat until lightly browned.

Add the tomato purée to the browned vegetables, then stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the vegetable mixture to the casserole with the meat and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour in the reserved wine from the marinade and top up with more red wine or water to just cover the meat and vegetables if necessary.

Heat over a medium-high heat until simmering, then cover and place into the oven to cook for at least six hours, checking the liquid every hour to make sure the meat is still submerged (add a little water to top up if necessary).

At the end of cooking time, remove the casserole from the oven, remove the lid and leave to cool.

Strain the cooled liquid into a clean pan, reserving the liquid but discarding the vegetables.

Remove the string from the beef cheeks and set aside.

For the ox tongue, melt the duck fat in a saucepan and place the tongue in a small baking tray, just larger than the tongue. Pour over enough duck fat to completely cover the tongue and the cover the roasting tray with a sheet of baking parchment and wrap in a sheet of foil, sealing tightly at the edges.

Cook the tongue in the preheated oven for two hours. Remove, leave to cool and then remove the tongue from the fat and chill in the fridge. (Discard the fat.)

After it has chilled for 30 minutes or so, remove the outer skin from the tongue and cut the meat into 2cm/¾in cubes. Dip into the beaten egg and dredge in the breadcrumbs until well coated. Set aside on a tray.

For the spring greens and bacon stir fry, heat the butter in a large, heavy-based pan and, when foaming, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft.

Cook the bacon lardons in a separate, non-stick pan, without adding oil, until crisp. Add the cooked bacon to the pan with the spring greens and cook over a low heat until the leaves have wilted.

Drizzle with honey, to taste, and season with freshly ground pepper and a little salt (the bacon is salty.)

For the parsnip mash, cook the parsnips and potatoes in separate pans of boiling salted water until tender. Drain, then return to the hob for a minute or two to drive off any excess moisture.

Pass through a potato ricer into a bowl and mash together (or mash with a potato masher). Add the melted butter and beat until light and smooth, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

About 25-30 minutes before serving, reheat the beef cheeks in half of the reserved cooking liquid and keep warm in the oven.

To make the sauce, bring the rest of the reserved cooking liquid to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan and simmer until the sauce is reduced, glossy and thick.

At the same time, heat the oil in a deep fryer set at 180C/355F (or heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based pan until a breadcrumb dropped in sizzles and turns golden-brown in 30 seconds). (CAUTION: Hot oil can be dangerous; do not leave unattended.) Cook the breaded tongue cubes in the hot oil in batches, for around 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown. Remove the cubes with a slotted spoon and drain onto kitchen paper.

To serve, place a beef cheek on each the plate and pour some of the red wine sauce over them. Place some of the crisp ox tongue cubes next the cheeks and some parsnip mash to the side. Serve the stir fry on the side in separate small dishes.

bacon recipe courtesy of: The Hairy Bikers, The Hairy Bikers' Food Tour of Britain, BBC-Food

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