The tiny village of Jabugo lies in the heart of the Spanish Sierra
de Aracena. Clean air and perfect climate mean that this area produces the best cured ham in the world. The authentic hams of Jabugo are cured for between 18 and 30 months and have a delicious grey-yellow fat with a soft, melting consistency.
1.2kg/2lb 10oz ox cheek, shin or blade, trimmed of sinew, cut into 2cm/3⁄4in steaks
300ml/101⁄2fl oz/1 cup plus 3 tbsp water
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp clarified butter
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the marinade
750ml/26 fl oz/3 cups full bodied red wine, such as Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon
2 carrots, cut into 2cm/3⁄4in slices
1 celery stick, cut into 1cm/1⁄2in slices
2 baby onions, peeled and quartered, root left on
6 garlic cloves, peeled
8 whole peppercorns,
1 bouquet garni (a few parsley stalks, 4 bay leaves, 6 sprigs of thyme, tied together)
For the garnish
1 tbsp unsalted butter
100g/31⁄2oz Jabugo ham, finely sliced
320g/111⁄4 oz button mushrooms, wiped and trimmed
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 To make the marinade, first boil the red wine in a saucepan for 5 minutes. this will remove the alcohol. then allow to cool. Pour into a large dish containing the beef, carrots, celery, baby onions, garlic, peppercorns and bouquet garni. Cover with cling film, refrigerate and leave to marinate for 24 hours.
2 Put the beef mixture in a colander over a bowl to drain. Leave for at least 1 hour. Separate the beef, vegetables and herbs and pat dry with kitchen paper. reserve the marinade.
3 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas6. Spread the flour on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 8–10 minutes, until pale brown. reduce the oven temperature to 110°C/225°F/gas 1⁄2.
4 Season the beef with 4 pinches of salt. on a high heat, in a large, heavy-based casserole, heat the clarified butter and colour the beef in it for 5–7 minutes on each side. using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate. add the drained vegetables and herbs to the casserole. lower the heat to medium high and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly coloured.
5 Spoon out the fat; add the toasted flour to the casserole and stir for a few seconds. then add the wine from the marinade little by little, whisking constantly to incorporate it into the flour. The sauce should be smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the beef pieces, bring the sauce to the boil and skim. Cover and cook in the hot oven for 3 hours.
6 Place a colander over a large saucepan and drain the beef and vegetables through it. put the saucepan on the heat and boil until the sauce has reduced by half. taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. put the beef pieces back into the sauce.
7 Over a high heat in a non-stick frying pan, heat the butter and cook the mushrooms until lightly caramelised. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the Jabugo ham and mushrooms into the beef. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve piping hot.