The last time I went home to see my parents, I bought a beautiful pair of beef cheeks from the local butcher and they’ve been sitting in my freezer waiting for the day that some magic would happen. Today was that day. Beef cheek needs long slow cooking to make it tender but the flavour is just amazing, like braised oxtail but without the hassle of the bones. I braise the cheeks whole in red wine with stock vegetables and shred the meat into the ragout once it’s ready. Spoon it over veggie mash with some green veg on the side; it’s a little dish of heaven.
- A pair of beef cheeks
- 2 tablespoons of cold-pressed rapeseed oil
- 100 ml robust red wine
- 3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons of roasted garlic paste or grated garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- A sprig of thyme
- A beef stock gel pot
- Half a carton of passata
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon each of salt and coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 400g can of cannellini beans
- A handful of roughly chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 140°C.
- Heat the oil gently in a large cast-iron casserole on the hob.
- Add the chopped onion, garlic, carrot and celery and cook gently for about 10 minutes until softened.
- Add the wine, vinegar, passata, stock, salt, pepper bay and thyme. Add a teacup of water and bring to a simmer.
- Add the beef cheeks, cover and transfer to the oven.
- Cook for 4 hours or until the meat is tender and flakes easily with a fork.
- Take the casserole out of the oven and lift the meat out with a fork onto a chopping board. Coarsely chop the meat on the board and then add it back into the casserole.
- Add the beans, stir and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
- Stir the parsley through just before you serve.
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NB: Always consult an appropriately qualified health professional before adopting a dramatic lifestyle change – we’re all different, what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone.