3 cups / 750 ml red wine
1 onion, halved and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery with leaves, sliced
4 cloves garlic, germ removed
2 fresh bay leaves
1 large sprig rosemary
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 to 3 beef cheeks, about 3 pounds / 1.4 kg total, trimmed (see page 29)
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons beef dripping or lard
1/2 calf’s foot, about 1 pound / 450 g, prepared (see page 100) (optional)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley Instructions
Pour the wine into a large saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat so the wine bubbles gently. Tip the saucepan slightly away from you and, using a long match, light the wine. Once the flames die out, light it again, and keep lighting it until it no longer flames. Pour the wine into a large bowl (there should be about 21/2 cups / 625 ml). Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, and peppercorns. Set aside to cool. Cut the beef cheeks into 2 or 3 pieces so that all the pieces are the same size. Place in the marinade, cover, and refrigerate overnight, turning a couple of times if possible. Remove the cheeks from the marinade, pat them dry, and season with salt and pepper. Strain the marinade, keeping the liquid and the solids separate. Preheat the oven to 300°F / 150°C. In a heavy flameproof casserole or Dutch oven, melt half the fat over medium-high heat. When the fat is hot, add the cheeks in batches and brown. Transfer the cheeks to a plate. Lower the heat, add the vegetables, herbs, and peppercorns from the marinade, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until they soften. Pour in the reserved marinade liquid and bring to a boil. Return the cheeks with any juices to the pan, add the calf’s foot, and return to a boil. Cover the meat with a piece of wet parchment paper and the lid, transfer to the oven, and cook for 3 to 4 hours, or until the cheeks are very tender. Transfer the cheeks and the foot to a plate. Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve into a bowl, pressing on the vegetables to extract all the juice; discard the solids. Let the cooking liquid stand for 5 minutes, then skim off the fat and set the fat aside for another use. Return the cooking liquid to the pan and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the liquid coats the back of a spoon. Meanwhile, cut the meat and skin from the calf’s foot into small dice; discard the bones. Return the cheeks and diced foot to the reduced sauce and reheat gently. Add the vinegar and taste, adding more salt, pepper, and/or vinegar if necessary. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve. Alternatives: Oxtail, beef shoulder, or shank
—Michael Ruhlman, author of Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking and Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing
“Let Jennifer McLagan take you by the trotter and lead you through the odd bits. Hang on, surely some mistake: the good bits!”
—Fergus Henderson, author of The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating
Praise for Fat
McLagan’s book is a smart, sensual celebration of the flavorful animal fats prized by chefs and shunned by a generation of lipo-phobes. Her French Fries in Lard may change your life forever.
Jennifer McLagan’s cookbooks are joyously contrarian affairs. [Fat] is a rollicking journey through the kingdom of unrepentant, glorious, and filthy rich fat.
—T. Susan Chang, The Boston Globe
Persuasively arguing that the never-ending quest for “health” has gone too far, McLagan’s elegant and informed look at this most maligned ingredient is appropriately unctuous.
—Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)