This carrot puree is based on a French dish called ‘Vichy carrots’, named after the French town of Vichy. This town was famous for its carbonated water, which was traditionally used in this dish to soften the carrots and accentuate their flavour. For best results, marinate the beef cheeks overnight so that they really take on all the flavours.
10 juniper berries
1.5 kg beef cheeks, trimmed and halved
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 stick celery, coarsely chopped
3 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme
2 wide strips orange zest, pith removed red wine
80 ml olive oil
90 g unsalted butter, chopped sea salt
750 ml Brown Veal Stock (see page 205)
8 pearl onions, peeled, root ends intact large pinch caster sugar
freshly ground black pepper
100 g speck (see page 209) or bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
400 g button mushrooms, trimmed micro herbs (optional), to serve
2 carrots, thinly sliced
50 g unsalted butter
1 star anise
500 ml water or soda water pinch sea salt
1 Finely crush the juniper and cloves with a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a large bowl, then add the beef, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, thyme and orange zest. Pour over the red wine and stir to combine well. Cover with plastic ﬁlm and refrigerate overnight.
2 Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry with paper towel. Strain the marinade through a ﬁne-mesh sieve into a large bowl and set aside. Reserve the vegetables and herbs.
3 Preheat the oven to 180°C.
4 Heat 30 ml of the olive oil and 60 g of the butter in a large enamelled cast-iron casserole over medium–high heat. When the butter starts to foam, cook the
meat in batches, seasoning with salt as you go, for 8–10 minutes or until golden all over. Remove from the pan, reduce the heat to low, then add the reserved
vegetables and herbs and stir for 6 minutes or until golden. Return the beef to the pan, increase the heat to high, then add the reserved marinade and the stock,
scraping the base of the pan to remove any cooked-on bits, and bring to the boil. Transfer to the oven and cook, covered, for 3 hours or until the beef is tender,
regularly skimming the surface of any impurities.
5 Place the onions, sugar, remaining butter and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Add water to partially cover the onions, then cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 5 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the onions are tender and lightly coloured. Set aside. Cook the speck in a large frying pan over medium heat for 6–7 minutes until golden. Set aside. Heat the remaining olive oil in the pan over medium heat, then add the mushrooms and season to taste. Toss for 5–6 minutes or until golden.
6 To make the carrot puree, place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the carrot is tender. Discard the star anise, then, using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrot to a blender and blend with enough of the water to form a smooth puree.
7 Serve the beef cheeks, onions, speck and mushrooms with carrot puree, topped with micro herbs, if desired.