Beef cheeks are one of those in-vogue cuts of meat that you now see on restaurant menus. They need long, slow cooking to become meltingly tender – which is why Warren says that you put the cheeks in the oven then go to the pub for an hour or two!
The braised cheeks form a soft, rich filling for elegant cigars of Tunisian brik pastry. This pastry is light and lacy, but sturdier than filo pastry, and adds a special crunchy texture ("croustillant" simply means crunchy or crisp).
Braised beef cheeks
- 800 g beef cheeks, trimmed
- 1 French shallot, cut in half
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 carrot, thickly sliced
- 1 celery stalk, cut into a few pieces
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 250 ml red wine
- 2 tbsp port
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 litre veal stock
- olive oil
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 celery stalk, finely diced
- braised beef cheeks and some cooking liquid (from above)
- ⅓ bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- sea salt
- 6–8 sheets brik pastry (see Note)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ½ small celeriac, sliced into fine strips
- sea salt
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
- ½ bunch mint, leaves picked
- 1 French shallot, roughly chopped
- 1 anchovy fillet
- 10 capers
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp chardonnay vinegar
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time overnight
Cooling time 30 minutes
Chilling time 1 hour
Place the beef cheeks in a dish and add the shallot, garlic clove, carrot, celery, rosemary, thyme, red wine and port. Turn the beef cheeks over in the liquid, making sure they get well coated, and leave to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 160°C. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based, ovenproof saucepan over high heat. Take the beef cheeks out of the marinade and add to the oil, cooking until browned on each side. Pour in half the liquid from the marinade and bring to the boil. Add the vegetables and herbs from the marinade (discarding the remaining liquid) and pour in the veal stock. Return to the boil, then remove from the heat and cover the saucepan with foil. Transfer to the oven and bake for around 2 ½–3 hours, until the cheeks are tender enough to break up with a spoon. Take the cheeks out of the liquid and leave to cool for 30 minutes or so. Reserve the liquid.
Start the croustillant by heating a splash of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the carrot and celery and sauté for a few minutes. Remove from the heat before they become soft, so they retain some crunch.
Place the beef cheeks in a large bowl and break up the meat finely with a spoon or fork. Add the sautéed carrot and celery along with the parsley and 2–3 tablespoons of cooking liquid from the cheeks. Season with salt and mix well. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a work surface and place around 3–4 tablespoons of the beef mixture on top. Roll the beef tightly in the plastic to form a sausage. Continue making another 6–7 sausages with the mixture. Chill the sausages in the refrigerator for 1 hour to firm up.
To assemble the croustillant, lay a sheet of pastry on a work surface. Add a sausage unwrapped from its plastic about a third of the way across the pastry. Brush the remaining two-thirds of pastry with beaten egg and roll the sausage up inside the pastry. The egg should stick the pastry together. Trim off the excess pastry at the ends of the sausage. Continue rolling the remaining sausages in pastry. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
To make the remoulade, mix the celeriac and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise and parsley.
To make the sauce verte, combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth puree.
To cook the croustillant, heat some olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the sausages in batches for 3–4 minutes, turning every so often, until golden brown all over.
To serve, place a spoonful of remoulade onto each plate. Next to it add a dollop of sauce verte. Cut the sausages in half and add 3–4 pieces to each plate, sitting them on top of the sauce.
• Brik pastry is available from Middle Eastern and specialist food stores.