ROSAMUND'S BOEUF A L'ORANGE
Please click on the image to see enlarged version of the finished recipe.The idea for this recipe came from Simon Hopkinson - to whose splendid books I so often turn in times of trouble – his recipe, which is for ox cheek is, as he says, a classic. French home cooking may not be what it once was but the French cookery websites are a lot more interesting than we have available in English and I have trawled through any any number of recipes for Joue de boeuf (ox cheek) à l’orange, each one with as mall variation from the rest, to come up with this way of cooking our Longhorn diced shin. Apart from the fact that the number of recipes on French websites clearly mean that the French are able to buy ox cheek (a feat in itself in the UK), they are obviously not too pushed for time. Because – it’s no good beating about the bush – this recipe does involve quite a lot of painful chopping and slicing. When I made it for the photograph last weekend, I found that a (large) glass of the Pinot Grigio I used for the marinade and Schubert Impromptus in the hands of the incomparable Alfred Brendel in the background made the whole task quite therapeutic – but there is no denying it took time. However all the effort is repaid many times over in the eating – this is an unusual, but absolutely delicious, recipe. It doesn’t make much sense to make a small amount though so I have given quantities based on 1kg of meat which will easily feed six – like all such dishes, it freezes perfectly. Note that it is best if the meat is marinaded overnight so you need to start a day before you plan to eat.
Ingredients 1kg Longhorn diced shin (or other diced Longhorn)750ml dry white wine3 medium/large onions4-5 medium carrots2 large sticks of celery120g tasty – not button – mushrooms2-3 large sprigs of thyme2 bay leavesAt least (see below) 150ml light olive oil750ml chicken stock3 oranges1 lemon200g closed cap mushroomsScant 50g unsalted butter 100ml crème de cassis liqueur3 tbs double cream Remove the zest from the oranges and lemon with a potato peeler, trying to get nice long pieces and to avoid including any pith. Cut the zest into long, thin matchsticks and put in a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil, simmer for a minute or two, strain and refresh under a cold tap. Peel the onions and carrots and cut into small (say 5mm) dice – what the French call a ‘macedoine’ resisting, if you can, the temptation to use a food processor because the neat little dice add no end to the presentation. If you must use a food processor, watch it like a hawk so that you don’t end up with pulp. Chop the ‘tasty’ mushroom into similar dice. Slice the celery sticks into four lengthways and then across the grain in 5mm thick slices. Juice the oranges and lemon and put the juice in a bowl with the meat and diced vegetables. Add the white wine, thyme and bay leaves and 100ml of the olive oil. Season well, stir, cover and leave in the fridge overnight. Fish out the pieces of meat and dry them on kitchen paper. Tip the marinade ingredients through a sieve into a bowl/jug, retaining both the vegetables in the sieve and the liquid. Set the herbs aside (but keep those too). Put about 50ml of the olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the meat quickly so that it develops a nice crust and a good caramel flavour. Remove and set aside. You now need to brown the vegetables. As long as the oil hasn’t burnt, you can go ahead and do it in the same oil as the meat but, if it is at all burnt, it is better to change the oil. Fry the vegetables slowly until they are brown and crusty. Leaving them in the pan, tip in the marinade liquid and bring to the boil, scraping up any residue. Add the crème de cassis and about 200ml of the stock and bring back to the boil. Tip the whole contents of the frying pan into a heavy casserole, add back the meat, the rest of the stock, the herbs and about half the reserved zest. Cover with greaseproof paper and the lid and cook in an oven preheated to 140oC for 1½ hours. Take a look – you should have quite a lot of rather thin liquid. Return to the oven for a further half hour without the lid. At the end of that time, the meat should be meltingly soft and the liquid should have thickened up a bit. You want it about the thickness of double cream: if it is still too thin, take some of it out with a ladle, boil hard to reduce and stir back into the casserole. Add the crème de cassis and simmer for a couple of minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Bring back to the boil and add the double cream. Meanwhile slice the closed cap mushrooms and fry gently in the butter. Add to the casserole, along with the rest of the zest. Serve with plain boiled potatoes sprinkled with finely chopped parsley and a green vegetable.