It’s that time of the year in the capital when the Food Show has come to a close and we are all waiting with great expectation for the start of the Wellington on a plate festival. It was another good year of the Food Show with several thousand people through the doors sampling food and wine, checking out new products and attending demos and masterclasses by some of NZ’s top chef’s and personalities over three days. I was fortunate enough to be there for the whole three days and was lucky enough to be involved in the judging for a fiercly fought Chef of the Capital chef competition. A three hour competition where chefs have to prep and cook a three course menu for four matched with wines and beverages. As part of the Food Show this year the hotel created a pop-up version of it’s Artisan Restaurant, so we had a fun filled three days cooking and serving Cloudy Bay clams, Braised beef cheeks with truffled mash and Coconut panna cottas with feijoa, all washed down with some home made Rhubarb/Apple and Cucumber/Juniper sodas. Below is the recipe for braised beef cheeks.
Ale braised beef cheeks w truffled mash and horseradish
I know it seems like such a waste to use a really nice craft ale for cooking but please use something half decent, maybe a couple that you forgot to put in the fridge just yet...
1.5kg Beef Cheeks
1 stalk celery
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
2 bay leaves
6 pepper corns
2 bottles nice ale
Red wine (to cover)
750g potato, agria
flakey sea salt, white pepper
Trip off any really large pieces of fat (or if you're like me at home leave them on) and sear in a nice hot pan with a little oil until a rich dark brown colour. Roughly chop the vegetables into large pieces and brown off also. Place in an oven proof dish large enough to be about 3/4 filled by all the ingredients and place the beef cheeks, vegetables and all the other ingredients including the herbs and beer into the baking dish. Top up with red wine to make sure that the beef cheeks are mostly covered. Top with the lid or baking paper and cook at 140C until very tender and falling apart, about 3-4 hours. Drain through a sieve keeping the braising liquor. Place the liquor in a pot and reduce on the stove top until lightly thickened.
Boil the potatoes in some cold salted water, drain and then return to the pot and cook on a low heat for 1 minute to dry out. Pass the potatoes through a mueli or potato ricer (or use a potato masher if you really have to...) Heat the cream and butter together and fold into hot potato, season with flakey sea salt and white pepper. Add truffle oil to taste just before serving.
Serve piping hot with a decent spoonful of horseradish and some watercress or fresh greens such as spinach or kale.
MacLean Fraser http://macleanfraser.com/