Recipe: Slow-braised beef cheeks

JILL DUPLEIX
Last updated 05:00 17/07/2013
Beef cheeks
EDWINA PICKLES

BEEf CHEEKS: Slow-cooked to perfection.

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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.

NEED TO KNOW

Main ingredient Beef
Type of dish Slow cooker
Course Dinner
Cooking time 2+
Serves/makes 4 or more
Special options Nut-free

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

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.

4. Tightly cover, transfer to the oven, and cook for 4½ hours, or until tender.

5. To serve, pick out the herbs and discard. Strain half the cooking liquid into a pan and boil for 5 minutes until glossy.

6.Serve the beef cheeks with fresh herbs and mashed potato, pasta or polenta, and ladle the reduced sauce over the top.

- Good Food

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