Cheek and cheerful cuts making comeback
Last updated at 11:44, Saturday, 17 March 2012
Granny knows best. It’s usually true and in these tough economic times, more and more of us are turning to her recipes.
Including restaurants and hotels. Increasing numbers of chefs are turning to cheaper cuts of meat to keep menu prices down, maintain margins and offer variety.
Catering supplies company Caterite, based in Embleton, near Cockermouth, has seen a rise in the number of cheaper and ‘forgotten’ cuts of meat.
Chefs are now ordering more belly pork , ox cheek and feather blade.
Chris Cooper, Caterite’s area sales manager, says: “Ox cheek is a good example.
“It is beautiful if it’s slow braised in red wine in a slow cooker with salt and pepper, root vegetables and served with mash.
“The older chefs know how to cook it, but the younger, Michelin-trained chefs are learning how to use it as well.
“Cooked properly, for a long time, it is delicious. It has a texture like butter and the flavour is somewhere between liver and steak.
Chris, who was a butcher for 12 years before spending 14 years as a chef, said: “We have nearly 20 kilos of it going out in one day, mainly to country hotels and top-end restaurants in the county.
“You can use it with fillet steak: cut a slit in your fillet steak and put your ready-cooked cheek in it, wrap it all in pancetta, sear it off like a normal fillet and it is down.
“It allows you to use a smaller piece of fillet but you still get a lot of meat and more flavour than just a fillet.”
Ox cheek is cheap but rare to find as they are difficult to prepare from a carcass and need to be ordered in.
If you’re not eating one in a restaurant and want to try one, you’ll have to make a special request of your butcher.
Other cheap cuts that are becoming more popular in the home and trendier in the restaurant trade are more easily available, such as middle neck of lamb, belly pork and skirt and feather blade beef.
“I’ve been pushing feather blade for weeks and it was on Saturday Kitchen on BBC1 at the weekend. People are put off by a big piece of gristle running through the cut, but with slow cooking, that turns into jelly and it’s delicious,” adds Chris.
If you can get hold of any, try this recipe for braised ox-cheek.
2 tbsp plain flour
1.5kg ox cheeks, trimmed of fat
2½ tbsp olive oil
2 red onions
2 smoked bacon rashers
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
300 ml beef stock
400ml red wine, such as burgundy
500g Chatenay carrots, scrubbed
1 Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 1 Season the flour, tip it onto a plate and use it to coat the ox cheeks.
2 Heat the oil in a casserole; sear the cheeks for 5 minutes, until golden. Remove to a plate.
3 Cook the onions and bacon in the casserole for 5 minutes, stirring, then add the other ingredients (bar one thyme sprig and the carrots) cover and cook in the over.
4 After 2 and 1/4 hours, tip the carrots into the casserole and cook for a further 45 minutes, until the cheeks are truly tender.
5 Garnish the casserole with the remaining thyme and serve with the gratin .
First published at 08:57, Saturday, 17 March 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk