Autumn Menu: Paul Ainsworth – Tongue ‘n’ Cheek

Tongue ‘n’ Cheek

French onions ~ carrots and swede ~ beef soup

The (ox) cheek of the man

Serves 4

For the ox cheek:

4 good quality ox cheeks (trimmed by your butcher and removed of all sinew)
2 carrots washed and peeled
3 sticks of celery washed and cut in half
1 large onion peeled and cut into six
1 leek washed and cut into 4 batons
1 bottle of good red wine
Rock salt and fresh white ground pepper
Thyme, rosemary, garlic and bay leaf
1 litre of beef stock

Pre heat your oven to 130C (266F – Gas Mark 1) .

In a thick bottom casserole pan add a little olive oil and get hot.

Season the ox cheeks all over and place into the hot pan, colour the cheeks all over, take out and place on kitchen tissue.

Place the carrots and onions in the same pan and get some colour on them and then add the celery and leek, a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary a bay leaf and a few crushed cloves of garlic. Keep on cooking until all the vegetable are beautifully caramelised.

Add the bottle of red wine and reduce down to a syrup of about 100ml. Add the cheeks back in with the beef stock and very gently bring to a simmer, place the lid on and in to the oven for about 2 hours, check them every 30 minutes or so. They they are ready when a knife slides through the meat like butter.

Take out and rest them in the meat juice. You have now made your soup at the same time, pass the liquid and reduce down to a tasty beef flavour.

For the tongue:

1 ox tongue
1 onion peeled and sliced
1 carrot peeled and sliced
1 celery stick trimmed and sliced
1 litre of chicken stock

Poach the ox tongue. Put it into a sauce pan with the vegetables and chicken stock top up with water and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pan and cook for 2 hours until tender. Top up with hot water if necessary to keep the tongue submerged.

Remove the tongue from the poaching liquid and while still hot peel away the outer skin and gristle with a small knife. Leave to cool completely and cut in to ½ cm slices.

For the French onions:

5 onions peeled and sliced very thinly
Rock salt and pepper
Freshly picked thyme
15ml olive oil

Put the onions into a wide bottom pan with a little olive oil to get them very lightly frying.

Season lightly with the salt and pepper. Keep stirring them and allow the natural sugars to come out of the onions. Every so often you will see the caramelised sugars on the bottom of the pan – add a little warm water to this and it will lift off and turn the onions a wonderful caramel colour. Do this until they are soft and have a slightly bitter-sweet flavour.

Stir in the thyme flowers and allow to cool in the pan

For the carrots ‘n’ swede

4 carrots cut into 2cm dice
1 Swede cut into 2cm dice
200g duck or goose fat
Sprig of thyme,
1 bay leaf
1 clove of crushed garlic
Rock salt

Melt the fat in a sauce pan to about 65oc place the vegetables into the fat with the aromats a little seasoning and cook until soft. Leave to rest in the fat.

To finish

Warm all the finished ingredients to serving temperature.

Place the onions in the middle of the bowl, the beef cheeks on top.

In a frying pan lightly fry the slices of tongue and place on top of the cheek finish with the confit root vegetables around and serve with the piping hot beef soup.

A bowl of Cornish new potatoes or mash goes brilliantly well too.


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