braised ox cheeks with chermoula

back to slow-cooked comfort food. this braised ox cheek dish was inspired by a recipe in a beautiful cookery book which i was sent to review but which was pretty dreadful to use: chefs of the margaret river region suffers an index structure that is next to useless so you have to sift through everything page by page, as well as recipes that seem to be incomplete in a few cases, missing steps or ingredients.

however, it is a beautiful book and goes a great job of promoting the margaret river region of south western australia, showing off its natural beauty and beautiful coastal landscapes and detailing the boutique hotels, wineries, restaurants and other food producers that are located there.

if anyone fancies researching a holiday in the area, let me know and i’ll post you the book! otherwise, perhaps you’ll fancy taking inspiration from my rescued dish!

the ox cheek recipe in the book uses a fairly standard combination of slow cooking the cheeks in red wine with carrots, onions, celery, garlic plus thyme, rosemary, bay and peppercorns. after three hours the meat was tender and delicious but the sauce lacked flavour. i discarded the vegetables and decided that instead of the suggested accompaniment of wild mushrooms, cavolo nero and gnocchi that i would add a punch of flavour with fresh green olives and chermoula – a mix of parsley, coriander, garlic, chilli and a pinch of paprika - plus soem lemon zest. the gnocchi was replaced by the easier option of sauteed potatoes (par boiled and the  fried in olive oil to crisp up the edges). 

the end result was well worth eating but i’m still looking for a recipe for ox cheeks that will wow me. last time i revisited my childhood and made them into a cheek and kidney pie. any other ideas out there, for the remaining pack in my freezer?