These lesser cuts of beef are also great value to buy and, when teamed with the incredible winter vegetables available, all bases are covered. Except for the final important decision: which red to open.
3kg beef cheeks
100ml olive oil
2 brown onions, chopped
1 whole head of garlic, split
2 carrots, chopped
1/4 bunch thyme
3 fresh bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1lt Pedro Ximenez sherry
500ml red wine
Heat oven to 200C. Clean sinew from beef cheeks, season with sea salt and place cheeks on a baking tray. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes each side. Remove when well browned.
In a heavy-based pot, heat olive oil and caramelise onion, garlic head and carrots. Add herbs and spices and cook for 3 minutes. Add sherry and wine, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add browned cheeks, top up with 1 litre of water, cover with baking paper and a lid, then simmer for 3 hours or until tender. The cheeks should be tender but firm enough to stay intact. To test this, squeeze the cheek - if it's soft but doesn't fall apart, it's ready.
Remove cheeks from sauce and place in a small baking tray. Reduce sauce by half and pass through a sieve over cheeks.
Serve with cauliflower puree - spoon some puree into the centre of a plate, place a cheek on the edge of the puree, then spoon a small amount of sauce over.