Ox Cheek Rendang made with Rempapa Spice Co. 'Balinese Spiced Tamarind' and HG Walter Ox Cheeks
Flank steaks and pork chops have their place. But during the colder months, it’s all about the so-called lesser cuts. These are parts of the animal usually getting the most exercise – necks, shoulders, tongues, and all – and therefore require longer cooking, but in turn are cheaper, more comforting, and, in the words of one of our directors, Daniel Heanen, ‘have much more flavour – it’s just a fact.’
1. Osso buco
From the hind shins of a calf or cow, osso buco is often served off the butcher’s counter with the sinew on, helping them stay in one piece during cooking. Speaking of which, try preparing this cut as the dish that shares its name – fried off with mirepoix, white wine, and stock, followed by two hours in the oven.
2. Ox cheek
Ox cheek is so abundant in flavour it can get away with a braise in little more than wine or beer. Though we have seen restaurants give it a slow cook first, then finishing in a hot pan to form a satisfying crust. For stews and ragu, ox cheek is fairly interchangeable with beef shin.
3. Lamb neck
A cut well-suited to stews and curries, lamb necks are commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine (see lamb tagine). Though small, it produces a good yield even after a long cook. Can be cooked on or off the bone!
4. Pork belly
A favourite within East Asian diets, pork belly has the winning combination of already tender meat and a fat rind begging to be crisped under a grill or in a pan. If a straightforward slow roast isn’t your bag, look to lechon kawali, a moorish Phillipino dish getting the most out of this cut.
Pork shoulder, simply roasted two to five hours with herbs and veg (also making sure to score the fat for crackling – our butchers can help with this), can bring joie de vivre to a grey Sunday. Alternatively, shoulder works beautifully in a Mexican carnitas dish, served in tortillas, tacos, or flatbreads.