Slow-cooked beef cheek
( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Tamara West
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.
- Heat the oven to 140C. Bring the beef stock to the boil. Heat the oil and fry the vegetables, garlic and tomato paste for 10 minutes to lightly caramelise. Turn the heat up to high, add the red wine and reduce by half.
- Season the beef cheeks with salt and pepper then place them in an ovenproof casserole (or use a slow cooker). Add in the reduced wine and vegetables. Add the herbs and cover with beef stock.
- Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook in the oven for 3 hours.
- To make the glazing sauce, strain off half the cooking juices into a saucepan, bring this to the boil and reduce until thick and syrupy.
- To serve, gently reheat the cheeks in the remaining cooking juices. When hot, carefully lift them out and place them into the glazing sauce. Smother with sauce and serve with creamy potato mash and a warm salad of greens (I have steamed brussels sprout leaves, peas, and broad beans, then tossed them with a little olive oil and sea salt flakes).