Monday, February 18, 2008

Everything but the moo

Beef Cheeks from Millgate Farms's grassfed beef with the braising liquid on a bed of garlic, chive, and creme fraiche mashed potatoes. The braise was surprisingly short, but it was close to what was recommended in a similar recipe from The Silver Spoon. That book hasn't let me down yet.

Beef Cheeks
- Cheeks, trimmed and cut into manageable portions
- Flour (for dusting the cheeks)
- Onion (diced)
- Carrot (diced)
- Celery (diced)
- Dried cayenne (cut into a few pieces with most seeds removed)
- Bay leaf
- Red Wine (I used an inexpensive cab here)
- Can of tomato with juice
- Salt and pepper
- High heat fat (I used bacon grease)
- First I sweated all the veggies with some salt and pepper in the bacon grease (This could have been done after browning the cheeks, the next step, and that's probably how I'd do it next time.)
- After the veggies are soft, remove them from the pot and reserve (The braise is all done in one pot.)
- Then salt and pepper the cheek pieces and dust with flour
- Brown the dusted cheeks in more fat
- Once cheeks are brown on each side remove and set them aside
- Add veggies back to pan (Or this is where they could be sweated for the first time, saving a step.)
- Stir to pick up browned bits, then add cheeks back and pour in some wine
- Cook wine down a bit and then add the can of tomatoes and juice (If using canned whole tomatoes, give them a squish with your hands after adding them--the tomato juice will temporarily cool the mixture down for a minute.)
- Reseason with salt and pepper and add the bay leaf
- The liquid should go about 2/3 up on the biggest pieces of cheek--if not add some water to make up the difference
- Cover and place in a 375 degree oven--it seems high, but it works and you get fork tender cheeks in about an hour and a half
- After it was done cooking it wasn't necessary to skim or reduce the sauce, although it would have been nice to have put the whole thing in the fridge and remove the fat from the sauce the next day. Still, it wasn't fatty tasting.

Mashed Potatoes
- Potatoes, cut in chunks (I left the skin of these Yukon Golds on.)
- Garlic
- Chives, cut into batons
- Butter
- Creme Fraiche (or cream, or both)
- Salt and pepper
- Put a pot of water on to boil
- Add cut potatoes, garlic, and salt
- When water is boiling and potatoes are fork tender drain water and smash the potatoes and garlic with a fork
- Add butter, creme fraiche, salt, and pepper and mash those in, continually adjusting to your taste
- Mix in chives

It comes together well, and I suspect the leftovers will be even better tomorrow. The meat was nice in that it cut with a fork, but did not just fall apart on the plate. The meal has all the components of a stew, but keeping each element separate dresses the dish up for dinner. It was a fair amount of work with a sharp knife to clean the cheeks, but it was well worth it. It's only a matter of time before the cheek becomes the new short rib, if it hasn't already.

No comments: