We are working through the lower reaches of our freezer, and someone has given us beef cheeks. I am very keen on eating all of the animal, waste is a terrible thing.
Beef cheeks are tough, cheap and extremely tasty cuts of meat that need long cook times to make them tender. You could use shin of beef or venison for this recipe instead.
First off, I had to prepare the beef cheek. I started with about 600g of meat, but a lot of it was sheets of fat and connective tissue. I trimmed it, using a very sharp knife, and then cut the remaining sheets of meat into pieces about the size of half a post-card, and about 1 cm thick.
- 600g ox/beef cheeks
- seasoned flour, 2 tbsp
- 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
- 2 large Carrots, chopped
- 2 sticks Celery, chopped
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic
- a dash Brandy
- 300ml Red Wine
- 1 clove
- half tsp of ground cinnamon
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 pinch of aniseed
- 4 sprigs of time, or 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 can of tomatoes, blended
- 2 Anchovies (you can buy these in a jar, in oil)
- Salt and Black pepper
- Flat Leaf Parsley, to serve.
Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees celsius.
- Trim the cheeks as described above, coat each piece with seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish, and brown the cheeks. Once they are done, remove from the pan and set aside.
- Slice the onions, carrots, garlic and celery and cook in the same pan over a medium to low heat, until soft. Add a little more butter or olive oil if required
- Once the vegetables are soft, increase the heat and add the meat back to the pan, with the can of pureed tomatoes. Mix to coat the ox cheeks and veg in the puree and bring to a simmer.
- Add the wine, brandy, clove, cinnamon, thyme, bayleaves, aniseed and anchovies, and bring to a simmer. Put the pan into the oven to cook for 2 1/2 hours.You may wish to check that there is enough liquid in the pan half way; add stock or water if necessary
- After 2 1/2 hours, check that the meat is tender, and turn the oven off, leaving the pan in the oven. Use this time to make mashed potatoes, cook any additional vegetables, have a cheeky wee glass of wine, and remember to warm the plates.
We had this with mashed potatoes, but the original recipe suggested polenta as an alternative. It was delicious.