Well, it wouldn’t be me if it was just another borin’ ol’ reesipe!
My lovely missus, when I ordered pork cheek at a bistro in France some years ago, said to me that she didn’t want to eat something that had already been in someone else’s mouth. At that point we both were completely unaware of the beautiful nature of cheek, whether pork or beef. It slow cooks to a wonderfully succulent casserole. All you have to do is accept it for what it is: a bit o’meat. I was trying it to see if…… Well, Jan did taste it when the pork cheek dish arrived and instantly regretted ordering a salad; now she buys cheek of whatever type whenever she finds it. RESULT!
So recently, when she found two lumps of ox cheek in Tesco’s reduced cabinet (Bless ’em….. it’s true that every little helps…… Other reduced cabinets are of course available – I have to put that or I’ll get a full mailbag of at least one complaint) she snapped ’em up and we popped ’em straight in the freezer. They were taken out yesterday and I have just ‘dun’ ’em. So, what did I dun?
For four people, find:
- 2 ox cheek (preferably from a reduced cabinet somewhere, to keep costs down; I mean ‘every litt….’)
- 2 onions – I prefer red, as you know, but whatever type you wish
- Stock cubes. Number? well, how many you got? I think I used four Oxos – two beef, two veg.
- Garlic – a few cloves of. Again, how many you got? I used about 6, all but one of which were minuscule, but I’m a tight ol’ git so I don’t like to waste any…..
- Stock jelly (optional) from a cup – don’t waste taste – see “Tricks’n’Tips” for what I mean here. Make sure that the fat from the top of the fridge cup doesn’t get used in your cooking!
- A little flour of whatever sort you have. Plain is ideal, but the over-riding basic principle of “Approximation Cookery” (this book) is that you use what’s available.
- Sun dried tomatoes (optional). Chop ’em small.
- Sprouting potato eyes (optional), Yes, I did just type the words ‘sprouting potato eyes’. Wassup? You don’t know what potato eyes are? (Well, I suppose I gotta ejumicate yer then. Sprouting potato eyes are the shoots that grow on spuds when they’ve been sitting there in the drawer/rack for a while. It’s all spud and the sprouts are particularly nutritious so I’m told. Don’t waste food! Just rub ’em off the surface of the spud, straight into the slow cooker bowl and forget ’em. Put the spuds back in the drawer for later. Job dun.)
- 1 green pepper. Or red; or yellow, or…
- Any opened wine that you may have around, of whatever colour but not not a sweet wine (optional) or beer, but not lager.
- Oil of some sort. Avoid ‘linseed’ or ‘baby’…..
- Heavy, large frying pan (or whatever you’ve got)
- Slow cooker. Yes, that’s actually essential. But then, you could do thid in a casserole dish in the oven, set to about 100C.
- Tesco (bless ’em….Every….) ox cheek comes in one chunk, fully butchered, cleaned, trimmed and sorted. All you have to do is cube it. Cut it into chunks of about half an inch or so.
- Season the flour and chuck the ox cheek into it. Fully coat all pieces.
- Put some oil into a large, heavy frying pan over a high heat. Throw about a third of the meat in and shush it around so that it picks up the oil. The aim is to get the flour-coated meat quite coloured. Do the same with the other two batches, putting each batch into the slow cooker when each looks overdone!
- Put wine/beer/water into the pan when the meat is all done and swish about to de-glaze the pan. It’s all flavour that needs to go into the slow cooker.
- Peel the onions and cut into quarters lengthways. Then cut each quarter lengthways again. Big chunks. Rustic.
- De-seed the pepper and chop into small pieces and chuck it all in.
- Chop the sun-dried tomatoes and chuck that in too.
- Peel the garlic as in “Tricks & Tips” and chop small or large, according to your taste. Small cloves I like to leave whole sometimes.
- Crumble in the stock cubes – after all, if it’s good enough for my hero Floyd…..
- Top up with wine, beer or water and pop the top on.
- The slow cooker will need a minimum of 4 hours. Mine went on at 06:00 on low, and the cheek is destined to be consumed after returning from Slimming World some time after 19:00, so it should be done by then!
- Do whatever spuds/rice/veg/other accompaniments just before you eat it, as normal. I’ll probably do slow roast veg, cooking whilst we’re being weighed at S/World.
- Serve & savour.