Ox Cheek Daube

Posted By Kerri

Beef daube is not something I’ve eaten or cooked before so when a friend mentioned she was cooking it this weekend, I started looking at recipes. I was looking for something that would sit happily in the oven all afternoon while we decorated the tree and this was perfect. Like all slow-roast or braised dishes, there’s a little work upfront and then all you need is patience while you wait for the end result (or, in our case, sustenance in the form of mince pies).

I looked at three or four different recipes which varied rather a lot so I just took the parts I liked best from each and combined them. I didn’t have time to let the meat sit in the wine for three days so skipped that but was keen on the combination of red wine and brandy so kept that element. The addition of orange is not something I would have thought of but really helped to cut through the richness of the wine and the brandy and added a festive note too which was fitting.

Olives appeared in all the recipes I read and I would have added them if we had any but I’m glad I didn’t. I can’t imagine how the texture would have worked but I think I would have liked the flavour.

We used ox cheeks because I happened to spot some in Waitrose but the recipes I found online also used beef shin or braising steak. We both really enjoyed this and ended up eating far too much. I’m happy with the combination of flavours we used but felt the orange was just a little too strong and would reduce the zest a little next time.

Ox Cheek Daube
Serves Two, generously

700g beef
Salt and pepper
1 large onion, sliced
2 sticks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic
4 stems thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp fennel seeds
4 anchovies
1 tbsp tomato puree
500ml bottle red wine
2 tbsps brandy
300ml beef stock
Zest of one orange, finely chopped
Juice of half an orange

Start by chopping up the beef and tossing in the seasoned flour. Brown the meat in batches and then remove from the pan and blot away the excess oil with some kitchen paper.

In the same pan, add more oil if necessary and then soften the onion, celery and garlic with the thyme, fennel seeds and the bay leaves for about 10 minutes. You want the onions to take on a little colour but not so much that they start to caramelise. Add the anchovies and tomato puree and cook until the anchovies melt.

Return the meat to the pan and then add the wine and the brandy. Let this bubble away until the volume has reduced by half. Now add the beef stock, the orange zest and the juice and bring to the boil. Once everything is boiling, transfer to the oven for three hours.

Dec 4th, 2010

2 Comments to 'Ox Cheek Daube'

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  1. Lizzie said,

    I love ox cheeks – so cheap! I’d have never thought to add orange, but it sounds like a worthwhile addition, perhaps with a touch of star anise too.

  2. Stephen said,

    Lizzie we weren’t sure how the orange would work with the beef but it did go well. There were fennel seeds in there too actually which aren’t in the post, I’ll add them in. The star anise suggestion sounds good and reminded me of the fennel!

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