Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A Winter's Tail, Tongue and Cheek

For a cook the produce of one’s own region is the most important resource that we have . What I love most about our local Victorian produce markets are the changes that can be found each week.
As the winter solstice is upon us, quinces are still around, chestnuts may still have a couple of weeks left. Perfect weather for a cheeky ox tail.
This is a dish for a cold winter’s lunch with the rain pounding on the roof and the fire raging.
You can do all the prep the day before while listening to the footy safe in the knowledge that you can celebrate/commiserate in peace with your guests the next day as all the hard work has already been done.
Oxtail is a dish that stirs the appetite when the temperature outside starts to drop. This dish takes away all the free flowing excess fat that oxtail has and allows you to enjoy the deep satisfying flavour without having to be polite while sucking on the bones. The celeriac and tongue starter and ox cheek completes the nose to tail experience.
This is just a sketch of a recipe, not as fine a sketch as the chestnuts above which is by Kijoshi Hasegawa from the 1930’s.
A Crepinette of Ox tail and Cheek with Parsnips, Chestnuts and Quinces
You will need the following, I trust you with the quantities...
Oxtail and Ox cheek Pig’s Caul [Crepinette]
Quinces, Parsnips Chestnuts [peeled or dried and soaked in water]
Carrots Onions Leeks Celery all cut into small dice about 1cm square, there is no need to be obsessive about the shape but they need to be roughly the same size.
Bay leaves, Orange zest, garlic, salt, pepper, chili, juniper berries.
Red Wine, Stock or water.
Day One The Prep.
In a heavy braising dish brown the oxtail, and ox cheeks, remove and discard the excess fat. Sauté the mirepoix with all the aromatics, deglaze the dish with the red wine add the meats and cover with stock so that there is 2 cm of liquid above the meats. Seal very tightly with foil and cook at about 150 C for about 3 hours. The kitchen will start to smell wonderful at about the end of the first quarter
Check to see how the liquid is holding up at three quarter time
When ready cool and remove the meat from the oxtail bones gently and set aside. Cut off all the excess fat and loose trim from the ox cheek and cut into 4cm squares and set aside.
Strain the liquid from the vegetables.
Cool slightly and make up a parcel about the size of a billiard ball by placing a piece of caul over a small cup or bowl and add some tail meat, then some seasoned cooked vegetables and finally make a base layer from the cooked ox cheek. Neatly complete the parcel with the caul and set aside in the fridge till the next day.
To serve
After chilling overnight the stock will have a layer of hard fat on the top
You can discard this or use it to cook some potatoes to go with the dish.
Cook the chestnuts, parsnips and a small dice of the quinces in the now de-greased stock, taste and season. The quinces will have added some lovely tart notes to the sauce and the chestnuts will have balanced this with some sweetness.
Heat the oxtail parcels in a hot 180 C oven and serve with the sauce and some roasted or mashed potatoes.

Celeriac is also in season, at Sunnybrae we are serving this light dish as a starter to the oxtail.
Its a celeriac remoulade with ox tongue wrapped in a slice of air dried ham with a garnish of mustard greens that give a wasabi like kick that perfectly balances the savoury flavours of the tongue.

1 comment:

Thermomixer said...

Great work George, a dish that would surely be a doddle for those Masterchefs to knock up in half an hour. Except I think that they would probably forget to add the lashings of love.

Reminds me to go to Footscray for ingredients to make Janni's oxtail stuffed with beef tendons.

My mind is tasting those wonderful mustard greens and asking why we are driving to Birregurra? See you soon.