I’m not going to lie, I adore Eye Fillet and it’s absolutely my favourite cut of Beef, but as the budget doesn’t stretch that far very often, I am all about finding ways to enjoy
other cheaper cuts of meat so that I don’t mourn the lack of Filet Mignon in my life too frequently.
Cheaper cuts are all the rage in the foodie world though so it’s not hard to find amazing quality and some incredible recipes around for ways to spunk them up. I’m not yet up to offal, but after rather recently taking the plunge and now adoring Pork Belly, I decided it was time to learn to enjoy another cheapie.
When visiting my (kind of) local Farro Fresh earlier this week, I perused the chiller section and was pleased to see some great specials on meat and chicken. The Beef Cheeks jumped right out at me. They were marked down to around $13 for 850 grams and next thing I knew they were in my trolley.
I came home and googled recipes and my eye fell immediately to one on the Bite website by Geoff Scott. That’ll be a goodie I thought and set about making it. I knew it would be better the day after and we were still to enjoy our final meal from our WOOP box so the timing was perfect.
I didn’t have all the ingredients called for so, as always, I adapted here and there and the final result was incredible. Melt in your mouth tender beef, smothered in a rich glossy and flavoursome Red Wine sauce. Served over Kumara and Pumpkin Mash and lightly fried greens finished with a splash of red wine vinegar, this meal was one that the entire family enjoyed and will be a new favourite on our list of go to meals.
Affordable cuts can be incredible when you allow them time to cook perfectly. Explained by the expert, Geoff Scott tells us that ‘beef cheeks naturally contain a lot of collagen which, when cooked long and slow, converts into a luscious rich texture. The cheeks will be extra tender and flavoursome if prepared a day in advance and will taste even better. I like to leave the cheeks to cool completely in their cooking juices then pop them in the fridge overnight.’ This is exactly what I did. Although after the first cook of 4 hours at 140 degrees Celsius, they were still not as tender as I’d liked, so I allowed them to cool completely in the Le Creuset and rested in the fridge overnight and then popped them back in the oven again for another 3 hours the following day. The end result was just right. Leaving them until the next day also allows the flavours to marry and intensify, so I absolutely recommend cooking this dish the day before you plan to serve.
- 5 C hot water
- 2 t Massells Beef Stock
- 3 T Olive oil
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, washed and diced
- 2 sticks of celery, washed and diced
- 3 Garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 T Tomato paste
- 2 C Red wine
- 800g - 1kg Beef cheeks
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1/2 t dried thyme
- 1 t dried rosemary (or 1 small sprig of fresh if you have access to it)
- 1 t Salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Heat the oven to 140 degrees Celsius.
- Heat the jug and ready 5 C of hot water, stir in beef stock powder.
- In a Le Creuset or similar, heat the oil to medium high and add the diced onion, carrots, celery, garlic and tomato paste. Stir frequently for around 10 minutes to lightly caramelise.
- Increase the heat to high and add the red wine.
- Reduce by half by boiling until you are left with half the amount of liquid.
- Season the beef cheeks with salt and pepper on both sides, then add them to the Le Creuset on top of the vegetables and liquid.
- Add the herbs and pour over the beef stock.
- Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the preheated oven for 3-5 hours. The meat should be falling apart, completely disintegrated and tender as anything. If it's not at that point, return to the oven for a while longer.
- Strain off half the cooking juices into a small pot and bring to the boil.
- Continue to boil until the liquid becomes thick and glossy, almost like syrup.
- Gently reheat the cheeks in the remaining cooking juices. When hot, carefully lift them out and place them into the glazing sauce.
- Serve on creamy mash (I made kumara and pumpkin mash) and greens of your choice (I fried up some finely shredded cabbage and broccoli in some olive oil and added a splash of red wine vinegar and salt & pepper to taste).
- You can also make this in a slow cooker - but I haven't done it this way to give you the exact time required.