Take time out to enjoy..

Take time out to enjoy..
Relax, renew, regain, regrow, reflect

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday = Recipe Day!

Beef Cheeks braised in beer with aromatic spices

“I believe the ultimate respect we can show an animal raised for the dinner table is to ensure we consume everything from head to tail. Beef cheeks are very tough because of all the work they do, but when cooked slowly the meat practically dissolves on your tongue.”
 – Mark Jensen, The Urban Cook: Cooking and Eating for a Sustainable Future
4-6 serves / main

3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
100mL (3.5 fl oz) fish sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons grated palm sugar (jaggery)
350mL (12 fl oz) beer (I like to use Vietnamese 333 beer)
1kg (2 lb 4 oz) trimmed beef cheeks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 litres (70 fl oz / 8 cups) beef stock
coriander (cilantro) sprigs, to garnish
sliced long red chilli, to garnish
Gently fry the star anise, cinnamon, cloves and black peppercorns in a dry frying pan until fragrant. Allow the spices to cool, then grind them into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle. Mix the ground spices and five-spice in a large bowl, then add the fish sauce, dark soy sauce, palm sugar and beer, and mix well. Clean any excess fat from the beef cheeks and place them into the bowl with the spice marinade. Work the marinade into the beef cheeks, cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours.
Remove the beef cheeks from the marinade and pat dry with paper towel. Reserve the marinade for later use. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large wok or frying pan over medium heat, add the beef cheeks and seal on all sides. Remove from the wok and set aside. Wipe the wok clean with paper towel. If you aren’t using a wok, you may now need to use a large pot to accommodate the rest of the ingredients. Add the remaining oil to your wok or pot and gently fry the onion for 4 minutes until soft and translucent, then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Return the beef cheeks to the wok, stir to combine with the onion and garlic, then add the reserved marinade and the stock. Bring the stock to the boil and skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1.5 hours, or until the cheeks are very tender. You may need to add extra water as the cheeks need to be covered in liquid while they cook. To check if they are cooked, pass a skewer through the middle of the meat; it should pass easily in and out.
Remove the cheeks from the wok and set aside. Increase the heat and reduce the liquid in the wok by half. Taste the stock as you reduce it; if you reduce it too far the flavour will become salty and too intense. To serve, slice the meat into 2.5cm (1 inch) square pieces, then place them back into the sauce to heat through. Check the seasoning and add salt if required. Garnish with the coriander and chilli, and serve with steamed vegetables and jasmine rice.


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