Monday, February 28, 2011


serves four

For the Beef Cheeks:
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 x 9 oz. pieces beef cheek, well trimmed
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 pint red wine
2 pints beef stock
2 thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
5 oz. piece of smoked bacon, rind removed and diced
5 oz. button mushrooms, wiped clean
Maldon sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

For the Celeriac Mash:
½ celeriac (about 1lb 2oz.
10 oz. floury potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 pint milk
1 oz. butter

Preheat the oven to 170C (325F), gas mark 3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, flameproof casserole (with a lid) over a medium heat. Add the pieces of beef and brown all over for 4-5 minutes, turning regularly with tongs. Transfer to a plate. Add another tablespoon of oil to the casserole, reduce the heat a little and add the carrots, onion and garlic. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring, until golden brown.

Return the beef and any juices to the casserole dish and pour over the red wine and beef stock. Add the herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste, then bring to the boil. Cover the dish tightly with foil and a lid. Cook in the oven for 3 hours until the beef is really tender and melting.

Carefully remove the beef cheeks from the braising juices, allow to rest on a warmed plate and cover loosely with foil. Strain the cooking juices into a medium saucepan and allow them to simmer rapidly for 40-45 minutes until reduced by a quarter.

Meanwhile, make the celeriac mash. Cut the top and bottom off the celeriac, cut it into quarters and, using a small, sharp knife or vegetable peeler, peel away the thick, knobbly skin. Cut it into 1cm (1/2in) chunks and place in a large saucepan with the potatoes. Pour over the milk, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are completely tender.

Drain the cooked vegetables in a colander set over a bowl to catch the cooking liquid. Tip the vegetables into a food processor along with the butter, and whiz for a few minutes until you have achieved a smooth puree, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid if necessary to give a soft dropping consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm over a very low heat.

Meanwhile, heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the remaining oil and sauté the bacon and mushrooms for 4-5 minutes until golden brown. Drain off any excess oil and stir into the reduced braising juices. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the celeriac mash among wide-rimmed bowls and carefully arrange the cooked beef cheeks on top. Ladle over the braising juice with the bacon and mushrooms. Garnish with parsley to serve.

bacon recipe courtesy of: Neven Maguire, Neven Maguire: Home Chef, HarperCollins UK, 2010 | RTÉ.ie Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland's National Public Service Broadcaster, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland

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