Ale Braised Ox Cheek
As you may have deduced, when an animal is slaughtered every part of it is butchered. Though this may appear, on the surface, to be a somewhat obvious and worthless statement, it does highlight potentially important ramifications. Remember, every popular cut of meat (leg of lamb) has a less-loved or even unknown counterpart (ox cheek, lamb neck or breast) – the meat that isn’t used gets wasted or goes under appreciated. This is a travesty on so many levels, not least because less popular cuts are often the most delicious and economical.
Chorizo is one of those very rare ingredients that gets along with anything in its vicinity – food or otherwise (except perhaps pigs). Not only does chorizo accompany kale to pleasing effect, it is suited rather handsomely to cabbage. This naturally leads one to suspect that our spicy Spanish friend could be bosom buddies with the entire brassica clan – all should be revealed in time. Meanwhile, why not make the time to appreciate the deep hues and rich flavours which accompany these wonderful ingredients?
Place me in a room with a brassica of your choice and I would, until surprisingly recently, have crawled up the walls and screamed for mercy and probably my mother. However, one by one my aversion to greens has fallen – broccoli was the first to go, followed by kale and now even cabbage and the infamous Brussels sprouts have spent an evening in my digestive clink. Last week, while at my local food market in Bristol, a rather good looking cabbage caught my eye and I had not the will nor the inclination to resist its pull and I’m so glad I didn’t!
So far, I’ve given you a recipe for shortcrust pastry and a recipe for mincemeat too, but I’ve yet to bring them together under one all-embracing banner until this moment!
Once you’ve made mince pies yourself, especially if you’ve done it the frugal way, you’ll never go back – homemade mincemeat is just too good and handmade pastry is simply a delight.
The kick of the brandy, which is present in prodigious quantity, combined with the flavour of the fruit is very tricky to rival. Remember to never underestimate the power of a well-made mince pie!