Braised Oxcheek with Liquorice

Jean Christophe Novelli's rich slow-cooked beef with liquorice-infused sauce is served with potato and cauliflower mash and topped with pancetta
By Jean-Christophe Novelli
Braised Oxcheek with Liquorice
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus 24 hrs to marinate
  • Effort: hard

Ingredients

  • 4 ox cheeks
  • 1 kg rock salt
  • 2 stick celery
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 heads garlic, halved
  • 500 ml robust red wine
  • 250 ml port
  • 250 ml madeira
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned
  • 100 g belly pork, diced
  • 1 orange, pared rind only
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 litres beef stock
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 sticks liquorice, or 2 tbsp liquorice essence
  • salt andfreshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil

For the mash

  • 4 potatoes, (maris piper)
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 25 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 4 slices pancetta
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

Method

1. On the day before, trim all the skin and fat from the meat, then cover with the salt and leave for 6 hours, turning regularly.

2. Rinse the meat, put in a large bowl together with the vegetables and garlic and pour in the wine, port and madeira. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.

3. The next day, remove the meat and vegetables, reserving the marinade. Pat the meat dry and dust it with the seasoned flour. Heat some oil in a large heavy-based ovenproof pan and brown the meat all over. Add the vegetables and sauté for a little longer, until lightly coloured. Add the liquorice to the pan, snapping the liquorice stick in half if using.

4. In a separate pan, boil up the marinade and skim. Add this to the pan with the meat and vegetables, together with the belly pork, orange rind and herbs. Cook very slowly on top of the stove for 1 hour.

5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160C/gas 3.

6. Add the stock to the pan, cover and transfer to the oven for 4 hours. The beef is ready if it falls apart readily when a fork is inserted into it. Remove the meat from its cooking liquor and keep warm.

7. Strain the liquor through a fine sieve into a clean pan and boil until reduced to a sauce consistency. To finish, whisk in the butter.

8. For the mash, trim the cauliflower and discard the leaves. Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized chunks. Place in saucepan with salted water, bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 20 minutes until soft. At the same time, peel the potatoes and cut into small pieces. Place in saucepan with salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 20 minutes until soft.

9. Once both cauliflower and potatoes are cooked, drain both and mash together in a pan adding the butter, double cream and milk. Meanwhile grill the pancetta on both sides until crisp and place on top of the mash.

10. To serve, slice the meat and serve with the sauce and mash.

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