beef cheek goulash

prep time:  tbd
cook time:  tbd
servings:  6

1/3 cup rendered duck fat or safflower oil
5 large onions - halved and thinly sliced
5 red bell peppers - trimmed and roughly chopped
3/4 cup tomato paste
1tablespoon + 2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoon caraway seeds - toasted and freshly ground
1/8 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh marjoram + more for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 1/2 pounds beef cheeks - trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons pickling liquid from a jar of cornichons

1.  in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat, melt the duck fat and add the onions.  reduce heat to very low and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until onions are a very dark brown, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.  if necessary, toward the end of cooking, raise heat to medium and stir constantly until onions are browned.

2.  meanwhile, place the red peppers in a steamer over boiling water and steam until very soft, 15 - 20 minutes.  transfer peppers to a food mill or blender and puree. 

3.  add the tomato past to the onions and cook until paste darkens, about 5 minutes.  add the sweet and hot paprikas and mix well.  add 7 cups water, 3/4 cup red pepper puree (discard  remainder or save for another use), the vinegar, dried marjoram, garlic, grown caraway seeds and lemon zest.  add half of each of the fresh marjoram, thyme and rosemary.

4.  season the beef cheeks generously with salt and pepper and add them to the pot.  bring liquid to a bare simmer and cook partly covered, stirring only 3 or 4 times, for at least 3 hours, then add the rest of the fresh herbs and begin to check the cheeks' tenderness with a fork.  they are done when they fall easily from the for, after about 4 hours.  they should be meltingly tender, but not fall apart.  pull cheeks from the liquid as they are done.  spread the cooked beef cheeks in a single layer on a baking sheet.

5.  when all the cheeks are done, pass the cooking liquid through a colander.  pour the sauce over the cheeks and season to taste with salt, pepper, additional fresh marjoram and cornichon juice. 

- new york times, october 2013

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