Oh the cheek of it…
Yes a dish now made from beef cheeks.
Western world meets Eastern world in this recipe, with star anise, cloves, and soy sauce making friends with my great mate foie gras.
I am pretty confident they will make excellent bed fellows – so here we go cooking enough for 5 here.
Phase I – Take out your large soup pot or biggest pan and pop in:
- 2 stainless steel forks to help with the meat tenderising
- 1 bag of beef bones – usually you ask the butcher for these as they are hidden somewhere in the freezer for stock making. If you are really lucky try to get bone marrow bones, sadly today though I was not so lucky, stocks bones it is
- 4 beef cheeks – these are quite large actually, almost like steaks each one. I plan to slow cook these so they become very soft and tender and the fat should turn to soft soft jelly
- 5 or 6 star anise
- 8 or so cloves
- 1 tablespoon of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of ginger
- 5-6 shallots simply peeled and popped in hole
- A good pinch of white and black pepper
- 2 teaspoons of a good old favourite of mine – Bovril, yep just found that on the shelves in Singapore
- A good pinch of salt
- Top up with clean cold water to cover all the meat and bones, and bring to the boil. Once boiling reduce to a simmer and leave for just as long as you can – ideally 2-3-4 hours, stirring occasionally
Phase II – Finishing of the cheeks with a French friend:
Once that is done take out the beef cheeks and slice it very thin, it should be sticky in consistency – that’s the fat cooked to perfection. Lay the slices on to a baking tray and then spread some lovely thinly sliced fresh foie gras on top of each slice. Pop that under a hot grill for a few minutes until it starts to toast a little. When you are done on that front, take it out and let it rest a while.
Take out the stock bones and forks with some tongs, making sure you keep the stock for gravy making.
Phase III – Ready for some gravy making? Or if you fancy being a tad poncey – Roux. You will need:
- The stock
- A quarter cup of flour (plain or rice flour will do)
- A couple of onions finely chopped
- A good 1-2 inch wedge of butter
- 2 heaped teaspoons of Bovril
- A good pinch of salt and pepper
In a hot pan melt half the butter – do not let it burn or smoke, so please keep an eye on this as it really will not take long.
Fry off the onions in the butter, then add in the flour and stir this continually – this is your roux – you want smooth consistency with no lumps or clumps, so be diligent my friend, be diligent. Do we like our partners to be lumpy (well in the right places yes I suppose) so why settle for gravy to be so?
Once that is done start to ladle in some of the stock, and add the salt, pepper and bovril and keep a stirring, keep a stirring. The effect here is that it will start to thicken as it cooks, leaving a glistening, beefy gravy.
You just cannot beat this – well actually you could if you were doing a Sunday roast and using all the beef fat and scrapings off the bottom of the roasting pan.
But we’re not – so there!!!
Phase IV – Nearly done…
Now this may come across as little strange but believe me it worked so very very well.
Serve plain white rice – the sand-castle way. You know – press cooked, warm white rice in to a small bowl and then put a plate on top, spin it over, remove the bowl and hey presto a wee dome of beautiful rice is sitting there.
Then spoon over some of the gravy on top of the rice. Then add on top of that some of the flaked beef cheek and foie gras.
Serve quickly, as you may be tempted to eat it all before the others get a chance.
Spanking – this one really is spanking!!! A little off my usual Asian beaten track, but hey variety sometimes is very much needed too. And this one rocked, it really rocked. Amazing what you can come up with when you visit a butcher and look in the freezer for bone marrow. Yes indeed folks this is how this very dish above was created.