Here is a cut of meat you might not be familiar with. Until a few years ago, ox cheeks were a forgotten cut of meat, but they’re becoming popular again and no wonder—they are so delicious. They can be a little tricky to prepare, because as you need to trim them carefully, removing all the sinew before cooking, but if you have a butcher, ask him or her to do this for you. Crushed new potatoes are perfect with this dish, and if you have a choice of variety I recommend Vitelotte, Jersey Royal, Charlotte, or even Ratte—just don’t forget a good glug of olive oil and the herbs.
– PREPARATION TIME 25 minutes, plus making the stock.
– COOKING TIME 5 hours.
– 2 cloves.
– 4 tablespoons olive oil.
– 2 garlic cloves.
– 2 carrots, peeled and cut into ⅝-inch chunks.
– 2 shallots, cut into ¾-inch-thick rings.
– 2¾ pounds large ox cheeks, sinew and fat trimmed.
– 6 tablespoons sherry vinegar.
– 1¼ cups red wine.
– 1¼ cups Chicken Stock.
– ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons Beef Stock.
– ¼ star anise.
– 8 large new potatoes, such as Charlotte, scrubbed.
– 1 tablespoon snipped chives.
– sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Step 2: Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and the garlic, carrots and shallots and cook about 5 minutes until soft. Remove them with a slotted spoon and leave to one side.
Step 3: Add the beef to the pot and cook 15 to 20 minutes, turning the meat occasionally, until it is brown all over. Add the sherry vinegar and deglaze the pan by stirring to remove any caramelized bits stuck to the bottom. When the vinegar evaporates, add the red wine and cook 5 minutes longer, or until it reduces by half. Add both stocks, the star anise and the cloves, then return the cooked vegetables to the pan and bring the stock to a low simmer. Turn the heat down to low, partially cover the pot with a lid and simmer 4½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until the beef is very tender.
Step 4: While the beef is cooking, prepare the potatoes. Put the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer 30 minutes, or until they are very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the potatoes to cool in the water.
Step 5: Fifteen minutes before the beef should finish cooking, drain the potatoes, peel them carefully and return them to the pan. Drizzle with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper, then cover the pan. Put the pan over very low heat and leave 5 to 10 minutes until the potatoes are just heated through. Remove the lid and lightly crush the potatoes with the back of a fork until they are just broken up, but not mashed. Add the chives and stir through.
Step 6: Serve the ox cheeks, carrots and sauce on top of the crushed potatoes.