Slow cooked beef cheeks, smoked eel, young carrots and celeriac puree
( SERVES 6 )
Shanks and oxtails are well-known meat cuts that are ideal for slow cooking, but have you ever heard of beef cheeks?
|30 ml||Olive oil|
|1 to taste||Salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|1 Ltr||Red wine|
|4||Carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm thick slices|
|6||Star anise pods|
|4 sprigs||Fresh thyme|
|1 tsp||Black peppercorns|
|400 ml||Beef stock|
|200 g||Button mushrooms|
|200 g||Smoked eel, cut into 1cm slices|
|18||Baby carrots, peeled|
|2 Tbsp||Unsalted butter|
|1 Tbsp||Cardamom pods|
- Heat the oven to 160C. Trim the excess fat from the cheeks. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan and brown the cheeks on all sides until nicely caramelised. Lift them from the pan and drain on some absorbent paper. Season generously with salt and pepper. Pour the wine into the frying pan and bring it to a rapid boil for 5 minutes. Place the garlic, shallots, onion and carrots (peeled and cut into 1cm-thick slices) in a roasting dish suitable for stovetop use, then arrange the cheeks on top.
- Tie the star anise, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns in a piece of muslin and add to the dish. Pour in the wine and stock. Bring the contents of the pan to a simmer on top of the stove and cover with a piece of baking paper. Cover this with tinfoil. Place in the oven and cook for 2 hours. Remove the dish from the oven and carefully fold back the foil and paper. Add the mushrooms, then re-cover and return the dish to the oven for another 45 minutes.
- Remove the cheeks from the cooking stock while they are hot - do this carefully as they will be very delicate. Allow them to cool, then slice thickly. Strain the stock and you can either discard the vegetables or chop into smaller pieces to be served with the meat. Discard the bag of herbs and spices. Pour the cooking stock into a clean saucepan and simmer until it has reduced by half to make a rich sauce. Add the smoked eel (cut into 1cm cubes) and the cheeks and the cooking vegetables if you wish.
- Place the carrots in a frying pan with the butter and the cardamom pods and cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
To prepare Celeriac Puree:
- In a saucepan, place the celeriac (choose a large one, peel and dice), bay leaves and enough milk to cover the celeriac. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes until the celeriac is tender. Strain the celeriac, reserving the milk but discarding the bay leaves.
- Put the celeriac into a food processor and blend until smooth, adding the butter and just enough milk to make a velvety purée. Season lightly. Place a spoon of purée on each plate and top with spoonfuls of the cheeks, eel and sauce.
- Arrange 3 carrots around each plate and sprinkle with fresh thyme if desired.