Ox cheeks with blood orange and green polenta

30 Oct

I’ve had a bit more time to do some cooking recently and as the nights draw in and it gets colder I like start craving warming, comforting dishes and a favorite cut of meat to use are ox cheeks. Not only are they cheap, a little goes a long way and they can be bulked up with other cheap ingredients to make something quite wonderful like this.

The inspiration came from this recipe for Pork Cheek Tacos by Helen Graves which I had a feeling would work with ox cheeks and I was right, the result is a perfect Autumn/Winter dish that The Man described as ” a triumph” the highest level of foodie praise in our house! It takes a long time but you don’t have to keep an eye on it and the results are so good I’d urge you to give it a try, it is seriously tasty

Ingredients, serves 2

1 tbsp oil

2 tbsp plain flour for dusting

1 large ox cheek

2 onions finely sliced

2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 glass of red wine

juice of 1 blood orange or 1 cup of blood orange juice

1 chippotle chilli crushed ( or a heaped tsp of paste)

1 tbsp tomato puree

500 ml vegetable stock

½ cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 4 allspice berries and 2 bay leaves, preferable tied in muslin bag so you can pull the out at the end.

Method

Lightly dust the meat with flour.

In a large lidded pan, heat the oil and brown the ox cheek on both sides then set aside on a plate. Turn the heat down a little and fry the onions for 5 minutes, add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes being careful not to let it burn. Next deglaze the pan with the wine and orange juice, add the chilli, tomato puree and stock, stir until combined then add the spices in their bag before returning the ox cheek to the pan. Place the lid on the pan and cook on a very low heat for at least 3 hours, longer won’t hurt.

After at least three hours the meat should be soft and tender, remove from the pan and on a plate or chopping board, use two forks to shred the meat and then return it to the pan with the sauce which should now be thickened. Remove the bag of spices taste and season as you wish.

I served this with quick cook polenta with kale stirred through to give it a green colour and Thomasina Mier’s pink pickled onions, which marinated in lime juice give a nice crunch and tang to the meal as well as looking beautiful with the other colours.

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