Beef Cheek/Oysters by John Freeman

John Freeman

John Freeman

18th August 2014
John Freeman

Beef Cheek/Oysters by John Freeman

As an incredibly popular meat within the UK, beef recipes are vast and varied. With a range of beef cuts to consider as well as cooking methods and flavour pairings, beef recipes are varied in flavour, texture and preparation time - give this one a try for yourself! The secret of the dish is the marinade: you need to make sure you marinate in a good quality beer, and then cook the beef in the pressure cooker very gently. You’ll end up with an unctuous and tender piece of cheek. There’s an emulsion of oysters, so you get a great umami hit, and then the dish is finished with some sea vegetables, and onions marinated in pickling juice. When it's in season it's available to pre-order at Restaurant Sat Bains, even if it's not on the current menu, with 5 days notice.FINISHING THE DISH AND PRESENTATIONWe haven't put any emphasis on presentation because we want you to create your own interpretation of the dish. Alternatively you can follow the example shown here.


  • For the Marinade:
  • 2 bottles of Roaring Meg beer
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 10 juniper berries, crushed
  • 8 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 50g honey
  • 500ml Aspall’s organic apple cyder vinegar
  • For the beef cheek:
  • 3kg beef cheek, silver skin and sinew removed, cut into 10 portions
  • 500ml brown chicken stock – see basics
  • 500ml white chicken stock – see basics
  • For the pickled shallots:
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 50ml pickling juice – see basics
  • For the sea vegetables:
  • 20g sea purslane
  • 20g rock samphire
  • 20g stone crop
  • For the oyster emulsion:
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 oysters
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 200ml parsley oil – see basics
  • fine salt to taste
  • Basics:
  • Brown chicken stock/
  • 2kg chicken wings
  • 1.5l sunflower oil
  • 1kg unsalted butter
  • 25g tomato purée
  • White chicken stock:
  • 2 whole chickens
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • Parsley oil:
  • 200g parsley
  • 300ml sunflower oil
  • pinch of salt
  • Pickling juice:
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 150ml white wine vinegar
  • You will also need:
  • 100 wild garlic flowers


Mix all the ingredients together and store in a container until needed.
Beef cheek:
Place the beef cheek in the marinade for 24 hours, drain and strain the liquid and pour it into a pressure cooker.
Reduce to a glossy syrup without the lid on.
Add the brown and white chicken stock and bring up to the boil.
Take off the heat.
Heat a pan and sauté the beef cheek until brown all over.
Add this to the pressure cooker along with any pan juices.
Bring up to full pressure and then turn down the heat a little and cook for 45 minutes.
Take off the heat and leave to cool in the pan; the cheek will be reheated in this later.
Pickled shallots:
Place the shallots in a sous vide bag and cover with some of the pickling juice.
Compress on full and leave in the bag until needed.
Sea vegetables:
Blanch the sea vegetables in boiling salted water.
Refresh in ice-cold water.
Strain through a colander and store in an airtight container until needed.
Oyster emulsion:
Place the egg yolks, oysters and lemon juice in a blender and blend on its lowest speed.
Once emulsified slowly add the oil until it forms a mayonnaise-like consistency.
Pass the emulsion and check the seasoning.
Store in an airtight container until needed.
Chop each wing into 3 pieces.
Fill a deep-fat fryer with half sunflower oil and half butter.
Bring to 120°C. Add the wings and ‘fry’ until fully caramelised; this will take around 45 minutes.
Remove the wings and pat dry on kitchen towel.
Place in a heavy-bottomed pan and cover with cold water.
Bring to a gentle simmer and add the tomato purée.
Simmer for 5 hours, skimming off any scum throughout the cooking process.
Remove the bones and pass the stock through a fine mesh sieve. Leave to cool in the fridge overnight.
Remove any fat that has risen to the top and hardened.
Bring the stock to the boil and rapidly reduce to the desired consistency.
Pass through a chinoise and store in the fridge until needed.
White chicken stock:
Place the chickens, chopped shallots and the thyme in a pressure cooker and cover with cold water.
Bring up to full pressure and cook for 25 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the pressure cooker.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
Leave to cool in the fridge overnight.
Remove any fat that has risen to the top and hardened.
Strain the stock again and chill until needed.
Parsley oil:
Blanch the parsley in boiling salted water for 1 minute.
Shock in iced water. Pat the parsley dry, transfer to a blender, add the oil and blend on full power until smooth.
Place in a centrifuge and run on a 20 minute cycle with no heat.
Strain off the vibrant, clear oil, leaving the sediment.
Discard the solids.
Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
This method can be used for other herbs such as dill, chervil, chives, etc.
Pickling juice:
Boil the sugar and vinegar for 1 minute until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the juice to go cold.
Pass through a chinoise.
Store in an airtight container until needed.
This recipe can also be used for any type of flavoured vinegar.

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