Korean Ox Cheek

It’s OK, you don’t have to use Ox Cheek … pig cheek is also perfectly acceptable. 🙂

Or any cut suitable for slow cooking method, something that will break down and give you unctuous chunks of meatiness.

Speaking of slow cooking – this method uses a pressure cooker, but you can do this on the stove by simmering for 3 or four hours; or even in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours.

And because we’re using the kind of cut that needs a longer cook, they tend to be the kinds that is cost effective and gives you more bang for your buck.

A wonderful communal dish, that lets you pimp each bite the way you want. The meat itself is tender and soft and juicy, with a lovely balance of light sweetness (from the pear) but maily heat (from the gochujang and ginger).

Everyone into the Pressure Cooker:

  • 1 kg ox cheek

Season the ox cheeks liberally. In a hot frying pan, sear in batches to get a good colour. Drop into the pressure cooker.

  • 2 large carrots, cubed
  • a handful dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 pear, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 thumb ginger, peeled and chopped

Into the pressure cooker, throw in the vegetables.

  • 50ml soy sauce
  • 50ml rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp gochujang

Make a braising liquid by mixing the soy, vinegar & gochujang. Season well with lots of black pepper and a good pinch of salt. Pour over the meat and give it a good stir.

Close the lid of the pressure cooker, select “meat” and increase the time to 1 hour. When the time is up, leave for 10 mins before opening the lid.

Finishing the meat:

Remove the ox cheeks to a bowl. Sieve the sauce into a jug, pressing the vegetables through the sieve to extract all of the liquid – discard the solids.

Place the jug in a fridge for an hour – the fat will rise to the top and solidify – skim this fat.

Reduce the sauce in a pan to the desired consistency. Chunk the meat into bite-size pieces, return the meat to the sauce and warm through.

The accompaniments:

  • baby gem lettuce
  • sliced spring onions
  • sesame seeds
  • toasted peanuts
  • sliced fresh chillies
  • chopped coriander leaves
  • kimchee

Bring to the table in a serving bowl, and provide smaller bowls with the accompaniments so people can create their own experience.

You can find gochujang in some supermarkets now, but any Asian shop will stock this item (or online).

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