My recipe is originally for ox cheek, which are big pieces, but as this isn’t something generally sold in supermarkets (and therefore requiring a trip to the butchers, which I unfortunately don’t often have time for), I think it also works with the beef braising steak, which I happened to have in my fridge this time. I do however have to honestly say that I prefer the cheek. Both are parts of the animal that are tough and require slow cooking to make them melt-in-the-mouth soft. The cheeks in particular used to be more of a wasted part of the beef, but in the recent years upmarket restaurants have made it more fashionable. I would love to make this dish more often, as I love the braised ox cheek, but my husband doesn’t count braised meat as one of his favourites.
Ideal situation would be to marinade the meat for 24 hours, however if this isn’t possible I would go for minimum of two hours.
2 ox cheeks (or 750g beef braising steak)
300ml red wine
100ml port wine
1 small onion / 4 small shallots, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
5 cloves of garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
6 stalks of fresh thyme
1 tbsp of black pepper (I tend to freshly crush whole peppercorns with pestle and mortar)
1 bay leaf
1. Place all ingredients in a bowl, and marinade for 24 hour if possible for best result, or minimum of 2 hours.
2. Fry the meat pieces for few minutes, stirring, then add the other ingredients.
3. Simmer for 2.5 hours.
4. Once the meat is tender, remove from the liquid (mostly for ox cheek, difficult otherwise).
5. Strain liquid through fine sieve. You can also use a piece of muslin in the sieve for finer result. Boil the strained liquid in a clean pan until reduced to half.
6. Quickly fry the meat pieces and serve with the red wine glaze (if ox cheeks).