A hearty meal of tender ox cheek, creamy mash, asparagus and watercress, celebrating the best of British produce. Don’t be put off by the tongue, it has a lovely taste and texture when sautéed.
By Matt Tebbutt
From Saturday Kitchen
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 ox cheeks, trimmed
1 onion, evenly diced
2 carrots, evenly diced
4 sticks celery, evenly diced
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 x 750ml bottle red wine
2 garlic bulbs, halved
2 bay leaves
small bunch fresh thyme
2 star anise
500ml/18fl oz dark chicken or veal stock
1 bunch watercress
2 tbsp light olive oil, plus more if needed
4 asparagus spears, stalks roughly chopped, tips still intact
1 braised ox tongue, diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
mashed potato, made very soft with loads of butter and double cream.
micro watercress, to garnish
Heat the vegetable oil in a large flameproof casserole dish placed over a medium heat. Brown the ox cheek on all sides, remove and set aside.
Throw in the vegetables with the garlic, herbs and spices and fry for 10 minutes, until golden-brown. Stir in the tomato purée and add the wine. Simmer until the volume of the liquid is reduced by half.
Return the cheek to the pan, add the stock, bring to a simmer, cover and braise for 2–3 hours or until the cheek is tender.
Remove the cheek and keep warm. Strain the sauce into a clean pan and reduce to a glossy, coating consistency. Season to taste.
To make the watercress oil, blanch the watercress for a couple of minutes and refresh under cold water. Remove the stalks and put into a blender with the olive oil and salt. Blitz well and pass through a sieve.
Blanch the asparagus for a couple of minutes and refresh under cold water.
Heat the butter in a pan, add the asparagus and tongue and sauté for 2–3 minutes. Add a splash of Madeira to glaze.
To serve, divide the mashed potato between 2 serving bowls and top with the cooked cheeks. Spoon over the sauce, garnish with the tongue and asparagus, drizzle with the watercress oil and garnish with the micro watercress.