The best things in life are simple. Simple ingredients, prepared in simple ways.
Slow-braised beef cheeks with creamy mashed potato is a perfect example.
If you’ve never cooked with beef cheeks before, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. As with other cheaper cuts of beef, they simply need a bit longer in the oven at a lower heat. The result is meltingly tender meat, and a rich sauce. If you can find smoked garlic, now’s the time to use it.
If your butcher doesn’t stock beef cheeks, they should be able to order them in for you at ease.
If you’re looking for a cheeky song or 2 to accompany your prep:
beef cheeks x 2
white onion x 2
Carrots x 3
Celery sticks x 3
Chestnut mushrooms 200g
smoked garlic cloves x 2
Red wine 187ml
cloves x 2
Star anise (crushed) x 1
bay leaves x 3
thyme sprigs x 1 handful
tomato puree x 1tbsp
Beef stock 750ml
Potatoes x 5
Leek x 1
Kale to serve
Set your oven to 180c
You may want to ask your butcher to cut your cheeks into slightly smaller pieces. If you have a sharp enough knife at home, do so yourself. Make certain you remove any hanging bits of sinew or fat from the cheeks’ exterior.
Season your cheek pieces well with salt, pepper, and flour.
On a high heat, brown the pieces evenly in a casserole dish. Remove from the dish and add your veg, finely chopped. Keep the heat on medium and season well.
Add your wine and reduce. Crush your star anise & garlic, and throw into to the dish along with your thyme springs, cloves and bay leaves.
At this point add your stock, and simmer.
Re-introduce your cheeks, cover and place in the oven. Lower the temp to 120 degrees celsius, and leave for 5-6 hours.
When the time arrives, finely chop your leek and fry gently with a knob of butter.
Boil your potatoes gently for 15 minutes with a pinch of salt, remove from the heat and add your leek.
Season well, add another knob of butter and blend with a hand blender until smooth.
Remove your beef cheeks from your dish and cover with foil, and set aside in a warm oven. Sieve the sauce into a separate pan and continue to reduce.
Serve your cheeks with the creamy mash and a healthy serving of the reduced sauce, along with some steamed kale, if you like.