CIBI, meaning “little one” in Japanese, is a book on home-style Japanese cooking inspired by authors Meg and Zenta Tanaka’s Melbourne café and design space of the same name.
This recipe was inspired by a dish served at a small bistro restaurant in Roppongi, which added a hint of hatcho (very dark miso) to a beef cheek stew to give it a unique Japanese flavour.
Slow-Cooked Beef Cheek with Red Wine and Hatcho Miso
3 tablespoons olive oil
1kg beef cheek, fatty membranes trimmed off, cut into 5–7cm pieces
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrated purée)
2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
1 litre red wine
2–3 bay leaves, fresh or dried
2–3 thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons hatcho (very dark) miso
2 tablespoons thickened (pouring/whipping) cream, to serve
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, to serve
Steamed vegetables, to serve (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F).
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large cast-iron stockpot over a high heat. Sear the beef cheek on each side for 3–5 minutes, until nicely browned. Put the beef cheek on a plate and loosely cover it with foil to keep warm.
3. Reduce the heat to medium–high and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the carrot and celery and sauté for another 5 minutes, until soft.
4. Return the beef and its juices to the pot and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, then add the tomato paste and stir well. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the beef and stir it in.
5. Pour the wine into a separate saucepan and bring it to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes to cook off the alcohol.
6. Pour the wine in with the beef and simmer over a high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens. Add the bay leaves and thyme, and check and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
7. Make an otoshi-buta (drop lid) out of baking paper and place it on top of the ingredients in the pot. Put the pot in the oven and cook for 1½ hours. Add the hatcho miso and stir gently, then cook for another 30 minutes, until the beef is very tender.
8. Finish each bowl of stew with a little cream and some parsley. The beef is even more enjoyable if you let it sit overnight and eat it the next day.
This is an edited extract from CIBI, by Meg & Zenta Tanaka, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $50.
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