Mexican beef cheek stew with quick beans and rice

Mexican beef cheek stew with beans, rice and avocado sprinkled with some spice.
Mexican beef cheek stew with beans, rice and avocado sprinkled with some spice. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Dietary
Dairy-free

Ground ancho chillies are well worth seeking out. The chillies are low in heat but incredibly high in flavour and give this stew that husky and smoky fragrant heat. I've used beef cheeks here, so this is one for the weekend when there is time to potter about near(ish) to the stove.

Ingredients

1.5kg beef cheeks

1 large brown onion, diced

3 garlic cloves

2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves

1 tbsp ground ancho chilli (or ground chipotle if unavailable)

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp gound coriander

2 tsp unsweetened cocoa

375ml beer (I used pale ale)

1 litre chicken or beef stock

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp honey

juice and zest of 1 lime, plus extra limes to serve

Quick beans and rice

2 cups cooked rice

½ cup chopped coriander

200g tinned black beans, rinsed

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp paprika

pinch chilli flakes

Spiced avocado (optional, serves 4)

2 avocados

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp dried oregano

Method

1. Place a Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat. Add the olive oil and once hot add the beef cheeks and sear on all sides, about 5 minutes. Push to the side and add the diced onion and cook until soft and translucent, another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the oregano leaves, spices and cocoa powder, and using tongs, turn the beef cheeks to coat in the spice mixture. Add the beer, stock, tomatoes, honey, and lime juice and zest.

2. Give it a good stir then cover and turn the heat to low. Cook for 3½–5 hours, checking and turning the cheeks every hour or so. You want to check the liquid isn't evaporating too quickly and the top of the beef cheeks are drying out. The stew is ready when the cheeks are falling apart under the pressure of a fork, and the sauce is dark and thick.

3. When ready to serve, prepare the quick beans and rice by combining all ingredients in a bowl and mixing well. 

4. For the spiced avocado, combine the spices in a bowl.

5. Divide the beef and rice between serving bowls. Top each with an avocado half and sprinkle over the spice mix. Squeeze over extra lime juice and serve.

More stews from Katrina Meynink