Saturday, July 21, 2007

Braised Beef Cheeks

I recently agreed to do some cooking for my cousin who lives in a black and red house and made a face when I suggested cooking a fish course for her main course. Fine. So something meaty it shall have to be.

I debated about going with a standard braising recipe that I have off my head or going with something fancier, more robust, structured and developed in taste. I went with the latter and decided, the French Laundry was going to be my guide. I love the book, let’s face it, it is food porn but above that it holds cooking wisdom. That being said, I have had a really bad experience with it when I watched my lobe of foie gras melt away in the oven, so should I attempt at cooking from it again?

I did, and I nearly lost my eyebrows in the process. Take extreme care when making the red wine marinade, the recipe calls for you to flame it to burn off the alcohol. I tried to err on the safe side by using a long bamboo satay stick to flame the boiling liquid in my stock pot, but I was starring down into the pot when the flames shot back… so I had to quickly retract… I really nearly burnt off my eyebrows, so, take care. Other than that, this recipe is rather friendly and the result, a rich flavoured beef cheek that is meltingly tender.

Braised Beef Cheeks
Serves 4

2 Wagyu beef cheeks, about 550 g each
Red wine marinade
Salt and pepper
Flour for dusting
2 cups veal stock

Red wine marinade
1 bottle red wine
½ cup carrots
2/3 cup leeks
½ cup onions
3 cloves garlic
10 sprigs Italian parsley
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf

1. Prepare the red wine marinade. Bring everything to the boil and flame to burn off the alcohol.
2. Trim the top flap of the meat from the cheeks as well as silver skin.
Place the pieces of meat in one layer in a tight-fitting container. Pour the marinade over and around the meat, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 150 degree C.
4. Remove the meat from the marinade. Strain the marinade into a pot, reserving the vegetables. Bring the marinade to the boil and skim impurities that rises to the top. You should have about 1 cup marinade. Remove from heat.
5. Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and heat over high heat. Pat cheeks dry, season and dust with flour. Brown for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, remove and place in a roasting pan, and it should fit snugly in one layer.
6. Drain fat from the pot, add vegetables from the marinade, and sauté over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Place vegetables over meat and then add reserved marinade and veal stock and water to cover the meat with liquid. Bring to a simmer over the stove.
7. Cover with parchment lid, transfer to oven, and cook for 3.5 to 4 hours until tender. Let it rest for 20 minutes.
8. Remove cheeks from liquid. Wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or up to 2 days overnight, strain liquid into a tall container and let it stand for 20 minutes to remove fat. Strain liquid, and save ½ cup to reheat before serving and reduce the rest by half.

* Recipe adapted from French Laundry


Blogger thoo2 said...

braised wagyu a bit of too much fibre in it.... but it is definitely nice to be braised.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course Beef Cheeks are tender.

They are rarely exercised; ever seen a cow smile? ;PPP

11:42 AM  
Blogger metapede said...

Sounds great! Question: When braising something like this - 2 or 3 cuts of meat, sufficient to cover the bottom of a dutch oven, overlapping a little - is it better to distribute the meat or to try to bunch it up in the center?

8:55 AM  
Blogger joone! said...

metapede: if you are a cast iron dutch oven, and if your meat is in one layer, i don't think it will make a huge difference if you placed everything closer to the centre or the extreme ends of the pot because the heat distribution is rather even. I hope that answers your question.

10:23 PM  
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