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Beef Braised in Ale with Persillade

by , featured in Herb
Published by Quadrille
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Introduction

If you are unsure of the value in layering herbs (and flavours in general) in your cooking, try this wonderfully autumnal braise. While you cook it, put on The Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’: that first chord – a glorious, unnecessary CLANG before the verse kicks in – is a piece of heaven. The magic in this recipe and that clang belongs to the different layers that come together to create the whole. The bay and sage added early, half the persillade added late on, and the rest added to serve all build a glorious wave of flavour on the tongue. You could add all the herbs at once, as John, Paul and George might’ve played the same chord, but – as with George’s 12-string F (with a G on the top and bottom and a C on the A string), D sus4 on John’s 6-string, and Paul’s genius D on the bass – it just isn’t anything like the same. A little liquid acidity just before serving draws the flavours more clearly into view: the excellent wares of Orkney Craft Vinegar and Cult Vinegar are great places to investigate.

Persillade is really the DNA of herb combinations, double-helixing its way through so many fine sauces, mixes and dressings. It is nothing more than two marvellous ingredients with a little seasoning, but then so is gin and tonic.

If you are unsure of the value in layering herbs (and flavours in general) in your cooking, try this wonderfully autumnal braise. While you cook it, put on The Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’: that first chord – a glorious, unnecessary CLANG before the verse kicks in – is a piece of heaven. The magic in this recipe and that clang belongs to the different layers that come together to create the whole. The bay and sage added early, half the persillade added late on, and the rest added to serve all build a glorious wave of flavour on the tongue. You could add all the herbs at once, as John, Paul and George might’ve played the same chord, but – as with George’s 12-string F (with a G on the top and bottom and a C on the A string), D sus4 on John’s 6-string, and Paul’s genius D on the bass – it just isn’t anything like the same. A little liquid acidity just before serving draws the flavours more clearly into view: the excellent wares of Orkney Craft Vinegar and Cult Vinegar are great places to investigate.

Persillade is really the DNA of herb combinations, double-helixing its way through so many fine sauces, mixes and dressings. It is nothing more than two marvellous ingredients with a little seasoning, but then so is gin and tonic.

Image of Mark Diacono's Beef Braised in Ale with Persillade
Photo by Mark Diacono

Ingredients

Serves: 4-6

Metric Cups

For the braised beef

  • 1 kilogram ox cheeks (I cut them into 4–8 pieces, but cut into chunks if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 50 grams butter
  • 2 large onions (roughly chopped)
  • 2 celery sticks (roughly chopped)
  • 2 carrots (roughly chopped)
  • 200 grams baby onions or small shallots (peeled and left whole)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 6 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 30 grams plain flour
  • 330 millilitres ale
  • 300 millilitres beef stock ideally (or use chicken or vegetable)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
  • 8 tablespoons persillade
  • splash of excellent vinegar, or lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the persillade

  • ½ small bunch of flatleaf parsley
  • 1 garlic clove
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the braised beef

  • 2 pounds 4 ounces ox cheeks (I cut them into 4–8 pieces, but cut into chunks if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 2 large onions (roughly chopped)
  • 2 celery sticks (roughly chopped)
  • 2 carrots (roughly chopped)
  • 7 ounces baby onions or small shallots (peeled and left whole)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 6 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 1 ounce all-purpose flour
  • 11 fluid ounces ale
  • 10 fluid ounces beef broth ideally (or use chicken or vegetable)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
  • 8 tablespoons persillade
  • splash of excellent vinegar, or lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the persillade

  • ½ small bunch of Italian parsley
  • 1 garlic clove
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Beef Braised in Ale with Persillade is a guest recipe by Mark Diacono so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe

FOR THE PERSILLADE

  1. Finely chop the parsley and garlic together, season a little.

FOR THE BRAISED BEEF

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2.
  2. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Warm the oil in a large casserole over a high heat and cook the beef until brown all over. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add the butter and the vegetables and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat until the vegetables soften. Add the tomato purée and garlic and cook for 5 minutes more. Then add the flour and stir well to combine. Add the ale, whisking continuously to prevent lumps, then the stock, continuing to whisk.
  4. Return the beef to the casserole along with the bay and sage and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.
  5. Cover the casserole and transfer to the oven. Braise for 2½–3 hours, until the meat is extremely tender, adding 4 tablespoons of the persillade after 2 hours. Add a little water or stock if the tideline drops below halfway on the islands of meat.
  6. When cooked, remove from the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice: taste and add a little more if you fancy. Serve with mash or crushed potatoes, topping with the remaining persillade.

FOR THE PERSILLADE

  1. Finely chop the parsley and garlic together, season a little.

FOR THE BRAISED BEEF

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2.
  2. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Warm the oil in a large casserole over a high heat and cook the beef until brown all over. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add the butter and the vegetables and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat until the vegetables soften. Add the tomato purée and garlic and cook for 5 minutes more. Then add the flour and stir well to combine. Add the ale, whisking continuously to prevent lumps, then the stock, continuing to whisk.
  4. Return the beef to the casserole along with the bay and sage and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.
  5. Cover the casserole and transfer to the oven. Braise for 2½–3 hours, until the meat is extremely tender, adding 4 tablespoons of the persillade after 2 hours. Add a little water or stock if the tideline drops below halfway on the islands of meat.
  6. When cooked, remove from the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice: taste and add a little more if you fancy. Serve with mash or crushed potatoes, topping with the remaining persillade.

Additional Information

PERSILLADE | Makes 8–10 tbsp

PERSILLADE | Makes 8–10 tbsp

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