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Introduction

This is an exceptional recipe, one I’ve used many times in my own kitchen for the top table. Though it can be time consuming to make, I’d say the results are so satisfying it is more than worth the effort, especially in Autumn when the rich, unctuous cheeks make for long in the mouth, and warming flavor.

Method

The Ox Cheeks

  1. Take the one-kilo of fresh ox cheeks and lay them flat on kitchen paper to remove excess moisture, then lightly season.
  2. Take a heavy based frying pan and heat with a little neutral oil.
  3. Color the cheeks on all sides and then remove from the pan and sit in a deep casserole dish.
  4. In the same pan add some evenly diced carrot, onion, celery or celeriac and a bay leaf, thyme and a few black peppercorns, 3 or 4 cloves of garlic then gently fry until sweet and golden.
  5. Next deglaze the pan with 50ml of aged sherry vinegar and reduce to a syrup.
  6. Next add the 300ml of your favorite stout and reduce again to syrup.
  7. Next we add the 125ml of ruby port and reduce by half.
  8. The final part of this sauce is the 500ml of hot beef or veal stock, 2 star anise then reduce by approximately 1/3. At this point we thicken with 2 tablespoons of corn flour mixed with a little cold water and stir into the simmering sauce.
  9. Pour the sauce and aromats over the cheeks making sure they're covered and pop into a pre heated oven at 125°C for 3 hours or until tender.
  10. When cooked carefully pass the cooking juices through a fine sieve and boil until rich and glossy skimming any fat that rises to the surface.
  11. Next, carefully place the cheeks back into the sauce and keep warm.

The Mash

  1. For Luxury mashed potato, peel, wash and boil potatoes in lightly salted water until tender (about 20 minutes), drain and leave to steam off for a minute or so.
  2. Meanwhile warm about 150ml of milk and pour on the potatoes then mash or pass through a mouli de legume, add butter to taste.
  3. When learning my craft, Pierre Koffmann would get me to add up to 40% butter to the mash at Le Tante Claire! Amazing as it tastes, you don't need too much of it for some lovely mash.
  4. Season with little sea salt and ground white pepper! Keep warm ready to serve.

Garnish

For a really classic garnish I suggest using diced cooked ox tongue, diced pancetta, baby carrots, wild mushroom and button onions all individually cooked then served around the cheek with all butter mash and a little English mustard.