Slow-braised beef cheeks

Good Food. Hot Food. Jill Dupleix. July 16 Beef Cheeks.Photo: Edwina Pickles. 3rd July 2013.
Good Food. Hot Food. Jill Dupleix. July 16 Beef Cheeks.Photo: Edwina Pickles. 3rd July 2013. Photo: Edwina Pickles
Difficulty
Easy
Dietary
Nut-free

Not the rump cheeks, silly, but the facial cheeks of beef. Because they are working muscles, their connective tissue helps them to hold their shape after slow cooking, even when meltingly tender.

Ingredients

4 tbsp olive oil

1.5kg beef cheeks, trimmed

200g speck, thickly sliced

2 leeks, trimmed and chopped

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

4 celery stalks, sliced

4 garlic cloves, peeled

500ml red wine

400ml chicken stock or water

2 tbsp tomato paste

4 anchovy fillets

2 bay leaves

4 thyme sprigs

2 rosemary sprigs

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp cracked black pepper

Extra herbs for serving

 

Method

1. Heat the oven to 150 degrees. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a heavy pan and sear the beef cheeks in batches over medium heat on all sides, until you get a nice crust.

2. Remove the beef, add remaining olive oil and cook the speck, leeks, carrots, celery and garlic, tossing well for 5 minutes. Add the red wine and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the stock, tomato paste, anchovies, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, sea salt and pepper.

3. Return the beef cheeks to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Tightly cover, transfer to the oven, and cook for 4½ hours, or until tender.

4. To serve, pick out the herbs and discard. Strain half the cooking liquid into a pan and boil for 5 minutes until glossy. Serve the beef cheeks with fresh herbs and mashed potato, pasta or polenta, and ladle the reduced sauce over the top.