Pulled Ox Cheek, Broccomoli and Rhubarb Salsa Tacos

So I love taco’s, my appreciation for them started when I lived in California for a while. I used to work in a cool little beach cafe in Huntington beach making tacos and other Mexican inspired food. They are a fun food that are great to eat with friends, they give a great sense of occasion and are just so tasty. They are making a slower than expected appearance in the UK  but taco fever seems to be slowly taking hold, I really thought we would have seen a taco bell over here about 5 years ago !

The best tacos in my opinion are made with slow cooked meat,  even the chicken tacos we used to make were slow cooked in a good stock.  This gives the meat  a depth of flavour and makes them sloppy and moreish, like any slow cooked stew . Genreally a taco needs a star of the show whether it be slow cooked meat, fish or broad beans, it then needs some sort of salsa to add a zing and a freshness and then a fresh tortilla . I must say that these tacos are the first tacos I have ever eaten without a chilli sauce and I love chilli, the great combinations of flavour in this dish were enough!   For this dish I used ox cheeks which are a perfect meat for taco’s ; they are a cheap cut with quite a bit of fat in places which breaks down after being slow cooked .This results in a meat that falls apart and gives a texture that is like pulled pork.  It was quite an adventure making ox cheek tacos as ox cheek is quite a complex flavour, its quite dense almost a little bland but has a great depth of meaty flavour, not a deep beef flavour but a more subtle corned beef  flavour almost . Ox cheeks need acidity or pickle to elevate them . Ill be using rhubarb, onion and pickled onions to help bring the cheeks to the next level.

Ox Cheeks
Ox Cheeks

Slow cook the Ox Cheeks

Ingredients

  • Ox cheeks
  • Carrot
  • Onion
  • Thyme
  • Oil

I would cook the ox cheeks the day before, its easy to do you just have to leave it slow cooking during the evening in the comfort of knowing you are going to have great slow cooked meat the next day. I seared the ox cheeks in hot oil in the bottom of a pan, you want to sear the meat on all sides making sure its brown all over. I then add chopped carrots , onion and thyme , mix it all together for a few minutes and then submerge in cold water .  Season with salt  and bring to a boil, reduce to the lowest heat and put a lid on your pan allowing it to gently simmer. You want to cook it for at least 3 hours, test the meat to see if it falls apart, the longer you cook it the better, just keep on checking that there is enough water in the pan to keep the meat submerged and that you leave the lid on the pan.

Ox Cheek
Ox Cheek
Ox Cheeks
Ox Cheeks

 

Once the Ox cheek is cooked cut it in to pieces and slow fry it in a pan adding some of the cooking liquid. The meat should break apart it to a nice pulled meat basking in its own juices. Reserve the cooking liquid for stock, or freeze as it makes a great gelatinous stock.

The Tortillas

Ingredients

  • Cornish Bakehouse Flour
  • Cornish rapeseed oil
  • Water

To make these tortillas I didn’t actually use measurements. I like to play around with the measurements with  tortillas and wraps just to see how they turn out. Adding some oil to the mix gives you a more pliable dough that puffs up a little bit more when cooked. Take your flour and add  some warm  water, you want to add enough water to very barely bring the dough together and then add a good  splash of oil. If the dough is too wet then add more flour and if it is too dry then add little bits of water. You want to knead the dough until it comes together into ball. Then wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 15 mins at least.

tortilla flour
tortilla flour

Once you take it out of the fridge it should be a lot smoother and pliable, give it a bit more of a knead and then roll it out with your hands in to snakes with about a 2 penny diameter. Cut into squares so that you can roll each one out in the palms of your hand into a ball like below.

Dough Ball
Dough Ball

Push down on the ball with the palm of your hand and roll out with a small rolling pin or a bot of dowel. I then use a cutter to make a perfect circle

Tortilla
Tortilla

Put the tortillas into a dry medium hot pan. Cook until the dough is visibly cooked then flip over. You can put them in a a hot damp tea towel to keep them moist if you wish to cook a few of them at once for later.

The Salsa

Ingredients

  • Rhubarb
  • Red onion
  • Strawberry vinegar
  • Sprouting Broccoli stems

Mandolin the rhubarb ,red onion and raw broccoli stems .  Mix with Cornish rapeseed oil and a couple of dashes of strawberry vinegar. Season with salt. Please taste the  sprouting broccoli  stems as I was amazed at how sweet they were, they are the best bit.

salsa
salsa

Broccomoli

Ingredients

  • Purple sprouting broccoli
  • Rodda’s creme fresh
  • Dehydrated leek powder
  • Salt

Blanch the broccoli in boiling water just to slightly soften them. I put them in a nutri – bullet with some creme fresh and a tiny bit of oil or you can use a blender. I then added some home made dehydrated leek powder which gives it another element and almost sweetness.  The result is a nice subtle guacamole like cream.

brocomoli
Brocomoli

Compiling them together

Ingredients

  • Pickled onion

I mandolin-ed/ finely sliced some pickled onion to put on top of the tacos, this is key  as they really do add a great element to the dish.  Grab a tortilla and smother in broccomoli, add the ox cheeks on top with the salsa on top of that. Then add the pickled onion on top.  I like to make the tortillas nice and small, about 2 or 3 bite sized so that they don’t seem too daunting. To be fair we rarely make it out of the kitchen when cooking them, its nice to have a beer in the kitchen, cook up the tortillas to order and munch as and when needed whilst having a chat.  This is the beauty of taco’s you can hang around and eat them whilst socialising and its even better knowing that you have an endless supply of them at arms reach so why leave the kitchen 😉

taco
taco
ox cheek taco
ox cheek taco

I love making tacos and eating tacos, ill be coming up with plenty more taco recipes and will be creating a seasonal taco collection  , so watch this space for ever changing taco’s . I hope you enjoy them

Whealfood x

 

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