We’ve featured Christopher Trotter’s recipe’s before for no better reason than they are delicious. Christopher runs cookery courses and bespoke food tours around Fife, his patch on the east coast of Scotland. I can vouch for his food tours, I’ve been on one and they are terrific. Now he’s here in Yorkshire, demonstrating at the York Food Festival and promoting his new book ‘The Whole Cow’ the follow up to his first book ‘The Whole Hog’, and has given us this recipe. It uses slow braised beef cheek, for a deep, rich flavour, but it is the orange gremolata that really lifts this dish into something special.
Beef cheek is a great discovery and well worth seeking out, the rich flavour is certainly worth it. Get the butcher to trim the cheeks. Each one will weigh about 500g and will feed up to 3.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 trimmed beef cheeks
- 25 g butter
- 6 shallots peeled
- 2 carrots sliced thickly at an angle
- 500ml stock
- thyme and bay leaf
For the Gremolata
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- grated zest of orange
Season the cheeks and brown them all over in a hot pan (that can later go in the oven) with the olive oil.
Set aside and then brown the shallots and carrots in the pan with the butter.
Reduce the heat and return the meat on top, and pour over the stock, bring to simmer add the herbs and cover with a cartouche*.
Braise in an oven 150C 300 F gas 2 for about four hours. Check the liquid doesn’t drop too much and top up if necessary. When cooked the meat should offer no resistance and the main vein will break under pressure.
Allow the meat to rest in the liquid, this can be over a period and simply reheat or allow at least half an hour. Strain the liquid and reduce a little and check the seasoning. Serve in slices with the shallots and carrots and a little sauce with a spoon of gremolata on each one.
This dish is really still open to experiment, try cooking with a little red wine and not just stock, Geoffrey Smeddle of the Peat Inn allows the cheeks to cool completely and rolls them in cling film and presses them in the fridge, then you can slice a perfect shape. He also suggested the *cartouche, a round piece of greaseproof paper which really keeps the moisture in for slow cooks
If you want to know more about Christopher Trotter www.fifefoodambassador.co.uk