Before I proceed I need to make this very clear: this dish is utterly delicious! We are talking mouth watering tender beef in (arguably) the worlds best and most velvety sauce. This really is comfort at its best and a perfect wintertime dish.
So now we’ve got that straight and you’re convinced that you just have to, yes have to, make these delectable slow cooked beef cheeks in red wine, let me tell you the truth. I hate making this dish. Say what? I hate making this dish. I have an irrational fear when it comes to raw beef cheeks (and natural history museums, don’t ask, I can’t quite believe I just admitted that on the internet). They give me the heebie-jeebies! The willies! The creeps! They make me squirm and shudder. Quite an overreaction really, but I didn’t say it was a rational fear (and if you think that’s bad you should see me in a museum). The problem is I just love slow cooked beef cheeks, especially this recipe where they are cooked in red wine. They are so good that I brace myself, face my fear and attack those raw beef cheeks all in a quest to satisfy my stomach. My stomach generally wins out with most things though.
This dish is super easy and once I’ve got over the initial shock, dealt to the raw beef cheeks, sautéed a few aromatic vegetables, added some seasoning, stock and lots of red wine this dish looks after itself. All the work is done by the oven so you can relax, have a glass of red wine and recover from your ordeal. This period of relaxation is mandatory (I also highly recommend the accompanying red wine). It is essential you cook the beef cheeks on a low temperature for a long time to ensure they’re tender. The great thing about some of the less than popular meat cuts like beef cheeks are that they have incredible flavour and are cheap but you do need to cook them for a long, long time. You can also be proud of yourself for doing your bit for eliminating food waste by using a cut of meat that would is not often used.
I made these beef cheeks on Sunday and had about 1 ½ left over last night. So I shredded them with two forks, added around ¼ cup of beef stock to loosen the sauce and heated it through. I then added this to 300g of dried pappardelle which had been cooked and served with shavings of parmesan and a glass of red wine. It was amazing I tell you! I almost think this was better than the beef cheeks with garlicky mashed potatoes and green beans I had the night before. Almost.
Enjoy this winter dish while you can, I think Spring is around the corner!
Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks in Red Wine
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 4 beef cheeks about 1.5kg or 3.3lb, trimmed
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 onion roughly chopped
- 1 carrot roughly chopped
- 1 celery stalk roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 3 cups beef stock
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp thyme chopped
- 2 bay leaves
Preheat oven at 160C (320F).
Season the flour then dredge the beef cheeks in the seasoned flour to coat lightly.
In a large dutch oven or flameproof casserole dish heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add two beef cheeks to the pan and sauté until just brown, approximately 5 minutes each side. Remove from pan then repeat with the second batch of beef cheeks.
Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to the pan. Add the vegetables and cook until soft, approximately 5 min. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a further 1 min. Add the remaining ingredients and return the beef cheeks to the pan. Bring to a simmer, cover then transfer to the pre-heated oven. Cook for approximately 3-4 hours or until the beef cheeks are very tender.
Remove the beef from the pan and set aside. Strain the sauce, discarding the solids, and return to the pan with the beef.
Serve with creamy polenta or garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal greens.