Beef with courgettes, Jersey Royals and Old Winchester cheese

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The simple title of this dish belies its complexity. Rib-eye and short rib are served together with unctuous bone marrow in a deep, rich braising sauce, with a deep-fried hasselback Jersey Royal potato and courgettes served three ways (poached, puréed and cooked down with onions and cheese). There are a lot of elements to this dish, but those who persevere will be well rewarded!

First published in 2019




Bone marrow

Braised short rib

Jersey royals

To finish the sauce


Poached courgettes

Courgette purée

Courgettes Lyonnaise

  • 4 onions, finely sliced
  • vegetable oil
  • salt
  • sherry vinegar, to taste

To garnish


  • Vacuum bag and machine
  • Muslin cloth
  • Blender
  • Temperature probe


Start preparing the bone marrow at least 24 hours before serving, as it needs time to purge. Rinse the bones in cold running water for a couple of hours, then pop out the marrow. Leave to soak in the fridge for a further 24—48 hours to purge any blood, changing the water every 12 hours or so
You should also prepare the braised short rib a day before serving the dish to allow time for pressing. Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1. Place a flameproof roasting tin or dish over a high heat and add a dash of vegetable oil. Once hot, add the short rib and caramelise slowly on all sides, until deep golden-brown. Meanwhile, add the red wine to a saucepan, bring to a simmer, and reduce by half
Remove the short ribs from the tin, reduce the heat a little and add the sliced vegetables. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and golden
Return the short ribs to the tin and pour over the reduced wine and the brown beef stock. Cover the tin with foil and braise in the oven for 3—4 hours, or until very tender
  • 600g of beef stock
Once ready, remove the short ribs from the oven and allow the meat to cool in the liquid, until warm enough to handle. Lift the short ribs out of the liquid onto a board, reserving the liquid in the tray. Carefully slide out the bones and pick away any excess fat and sinew so you’re just left with the intact rib meat. Gently place in a vacuum bag, seal with a bar sealer, and place on a tray or board. Place another tray or board on top of the rib and top with weights in the fridge to set
Remove any solidified fat from the braising liquid and pass through a fine sieve into a bowl or jug — this will later be used to make the sauce
On the day of serving, preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
Wash the potatoes well and add to a deep baking dish — they should fit fairly snugly but have a little room around them. Pour over enough olive oil to cover and add a large pinch of salt, the herbs, and garlic cloves, then cover with foil. Place in the oven to confit for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they are tender. When the potatoes are ready, allow to cool in the oil
To make the sauce, add the white wine to a pan and reduce by half. Add the reserved short rib braising liquid and simmer gently until the liquid reaches a sauce consistency
  • 75ml of white wine
Add the tarragon and allow to infuse for 30 minutes. Pass through a sieve lined with muslin then chill the sauce in the fridge. Once cold, skim away any fat that has solidified on the surface
To prepare the beef rib-eye, place the meat on a chopping board and split the fatty rib-eye cap from the eye. Trim the fat away and reserve. The cap meat, known as the spinalis dorsi, is a highly prized and unusual cut of meat, so save it for other recipes
Place the fat cap in a pan to render over a low heat — you will use this fat to deep-fry the potatoes later. If your piece of beef doesn’t have that much fat on it, make sure to buy some extra dripping to ensure you have enough for deep-frying
Take the long central eye of the meat and cut away any tough sinew. If it’s a particularly large eye, you might want to cut it in half lengthways and tie the halves with string to create nice neat cylinders. Cut the eye into 150g—200g portions, slicing against the grain of the meat, and keep in the fridge
To make the cooking liquor for the poached courgettes, sweat the onion, fennel, and garlic in a dash of olive oil over a medium heat, until tender. Add the tarragon, dried mushrooms, and water, and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 1 hour
To make the courgette purée, cut each courgette in half lengthways, then cut in half lengthways again. Use a paring knife, cut the seeds away from the flesh and reserve for later. Cut across the remaining seedless batons to make thin slices. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the courgette slices and cook for a few seconds, until soft. Add the basil, cooking until it starts to break down, then add the spinach and bring to a simmer. Drain into a colander, pressing the ingredients to extract as much liquid as possible
Immediately transfer to a liquidiser or powerful blender and blitz until completely smooth. Gradually add the cheese while blending, along with a pinch of xanthan gum. Pass the purée through a fine sieve into a metal bowl sat over a bowl of ice, this will help the purée cool quickly and ensure it keeps its vibrant green colour
  • 20g of cheese, ideally Old Winchester but Parmesan can also be used, grated
  • 1 pinch of xanthan gum
To make the courgettes Lyonnaise, sweat the onions and reserved courgette seeds over a low heat until very soft and caramelised for around 1–2 hours, depending on the water content of your onions – you should be left with a fairly thick and smooth mixture. Season to taste with salt and a dash of sherry vinegar
  • 4 onions, finely sliced
  • vegetable oil
  • salt
  • sherry vinegar, to taste
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Remove the short ribs from the vacuum bag and cut into even portions. Place in a small metal tray, pour a generous amount of the reserved sauce over the top, and cover with foil. Bake until piping hot, basting occasionally as the portions heat through to ensure they’re nicely glazed
When ready to serve, quickly sear the of the rib-eye portions all over in a hot frying pan until nice and caramelised, then transfer to a small metal tray. Add a couple of knobs of butter to the frying pan and heat up to create a brown butter, then pour over the meat
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 knobs of butter
Cook the rib-eye pieces under a very low grill, turning the meat as it cooks to ensure even cooking and to keep the meat basted. Test the meat with a meat thermometer, once it reads 55–60°C it should be at a nice medium-rare finish. Remove, season and allow to rest for 10–20 minutes
Preheat a deep pan or deep-fryer of beef fat to 180°C
To finish the potatoes, drain them from the oil and carefully peel away the skins. Making slices about 2—3mm apart, cut down into the flesh of each potato, only going about three-quarters of the way so that the potatoes stay intact. Once the beef fat has come up to temperature, add the potatoes and deep-fry until golden and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper and season with salt
5 minutes before serving, finely dice the bone marrow and add to the short rib and sauce, to allow it to heat through and soften. Separately reheat the purée, courgettes Lyonnaise, and remaining sauce. Bring the courgette poaching liquor to a simmer, add the courgette pieces, and cook until tender
  • 2 courgettes, deseeded and cut into 12 neat, even shapes
When ready to serve, add three quenelles each of the courgettes Lyonnaise and purée to each plate. Add a potato, a portion of rib-eye, and a portion of short rib, as well as some pieces of bone marrow. Place the poached courgette pieces around the plate, drizzle with some sauce and garnish with cress. Serve immediately

Phil Fanning remains one of the brightest, most interesting chefs of the British food scene, creating beautiful, intricate plates of food at the magnificent Paris House in Woburn Abbey.

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