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Daube of Beef

Matthew Kemp is famous for making the best out of cheaper cuts of meat and this is a fantastic example of that. Once you have made the marinade you can smell the quality of this dish. As you go through the process, you start to see where the dish is going and your mouth starts watering at the thought of the end product. You must choose a good quality wine and port – ones you would enjoy drinking on their own, as they infuse the meat so thoroughly. Begin this dish a day ahead as per the recipe to truly get the best out of the flavours. The result is a melt in the mouth, tender, full bodied beef dish. Is one for a special occasion, and is a wonderfully cheap way for beef to be the centre dish. The recipe may sound complicated but if you take it step by step without rushing you will realise in fact all the steps are relatively easy and just need coordination and patience.

"With apologies to Matthew Kemp’s original recipe from Restaurant Balzac days. Serve with pureed potatoes and a green vegetable for contrast – perhaps steamed bok choy for taste and texture, or double-shelled broad beans for bursts of love"– Alice McCormick.

Pictured: Daube of beef

4 beef cheeks or 1kg beef shin (ask the butcher to trim the outside sinew and any excess fat – cheeks can be cut into two halves each and the shin into very large dice if you feel like it)
Mix up a marinade with -
1 carrot cut into chunks
1 diced onion
1 stick or two of celery, chopped
Several cloves garlic smashed up
1 bay leaf
Sprig of thyme
Good grind of pepper
Some juniper berries smashed up a bit
Big slug of good strong red wine (Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon maybe) a whole bottle or more
Half a bottle of port

Put beef cheeks into big shallow dish and cover with marinade, fridge overnight.
Turn after six hours or so.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 150°C.

Drain meat and vegetables from the marinade, reserving the liquid and keeping the vegetables.

Heat olive oil in a pan and brown the cheeks well (dredge them in flour for thicker sauce if you want).
Sautee the vegetables from the marinade – or substitute or add some freshly prepared ones if you’re feeling industrious - until caramelised.

Put meat and vegetables at base of large ovenproof pot with sprigs of thyme between the pieces.

Deglaze pan with the reserved marinade and reduce till syrupy. Pour to cover beef and vegetables.
Top up with about 1ltr chicken (or use veal) stock. Bring to a simmer. Cover directly with baking paper.

Cook in oven for about five hours, checking every hour or so that there is enough liquid. Add more stock (or water) if drying out.

When ready remove meat, strain liquid and reduce to syrup if necessary, serve nice large pieces of meat with vegetables around and the sauce poured over.

Serves 4