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Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks in Red Wine with Creamy Mashed Potatoes

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10 hrs 15 mins
Serves 6

Recipe: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats

Beef Cheeks are the cheek muscle of cows and they are a very lean cut of meat. It’s a budget cut that needs to be cooked long and slow to make it tender. It absorbs the flavours of braising liquid well and when you cut into it, it is stringy, almost like pulled pork or brisket. Perfectly accompanied with creamy mashed potatoes, this is a very easy dish that is suited to an elegant dinner party or a hearty midweek meal. These beef cheeks are so meltingly tender that you can eat them with a spoon. And the sauce is so flavorful you'll want to drink it out of a cup. Leftovers are brilliant to turn into a quick ragu to toss through pasta or making a pie

    Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, separated
  • 3lb beef cheeks
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 carrot, roughly diced (about ¾ cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 stems of fresh thyme or 1½ tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 4 dried bay leaves (or 3 fresh bay leaves)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 cups red wine (full bodied eg. cabernet sauvignon or merlot)
  • 3 tsp salt, separated
  • Black pepper
  • Creamy Mashed Potato: 1.6lb starchy potatoes (see notes), diced into 2cm / ¾" cubes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

1.

Prepare the beef cheeks: cut off any large, fatty membrane. Pat dry then season each side with 1 tsp of salt and a good grind of pepper.

2.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy based pan (or casserole dish with a lid if you are baking or pot if you are cooking on the stove) over high heat. Sear the beef cheeks on each side until nicely browned. If your pan is not large enough, work in batches rather than crowding the pan. Remove beef cheeks onto a plate, loosely cover with foil to keep warm.

3.

Turn down the heat to medium high and heat the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic, onion and carrots. Sauté for 3 minutes until onion is becoming translucent, then add the celery and sauté for a further 3 minutes.

4.

Slow Cooker Directions:
Pour the onion mixture into the slow cooker and place the beef cheeks on top.
Pour the wine into the fry pan and return to heat. Turn the heat up to high, bring to simmer and let it simmer for 1 minute (to cook out the wine a bit). Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan so it mixes in with the wine.
Pour the wine into the slow cooker, then all the remaining ingredients (including 2 tsp salt).
Cook in the slow cooker on Low for 8 hours or High for 6 hours for 250g/8oz size beef cheeks or Low for 10 - 12 hours or High for 8 hours for 350g/12oz beef cheeks.
Open the slow cooker and remove the beef cheeks. Discard the thyme stems and bay leaves.
Use a handheld stick blender to puree the braising liquid into a smooth Sauce - it will change from a dark brown to a lighter brown colour. If using a slow cooker without a sauté setting, pour the Sauce into a saucepan. If you have a sauté setting, leave it in the slow cooker.
Put the saucepan over medium heat (or set the slow cooker to sauté setting) and bring to simmer.
Simmer until the Sauce turns a darker brown colour and reduces by about ¼ to ⅓, to a gravy consistency - about 10 minutes.
Do a taste test and adjust the seasoning (salt and pepper) to your taste.
Remove from heat, return beef cheeks to the Sauce, cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

5.

Pressure Cooker Directions:
Follow the Slow Cooker directions but cook on high in your pressure cooker for 1 hour on high for small cheeks (around 250g/8oz each).

6.

Stovetop and Oven Directions:
Pour the wine into the pot / casserole dish (with the onion mixture) and stir to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Bring wine to simmer for 1 minute.
Add remaining ingredients (including 2 tsp salt).
Put lid on and cook on the stove on medium low for 2 to 2½ hours or in the oven at 160C/320F for 3 to 3½ hours until the cheeks are very tender. Turn at least once during cooking.
Open the pot/casserole dish and remove the beef cheeks. Discard the thyme stems and bay leaves.
Use a handheld stick blender to puree the braising liquid into a smooth Sauce - it will change from a dark brown to a lighter brown colour.
Bring the Sauce to simmer over medium heat and simmer until it turns a darker brown colour and reduces by about ¼ to ⅓, to a gravy consistency - about 3 to 5 minutes.
Do a taste test and adjust the seasoning (salt and pepper) to your taste.
Remove from heat, return beef cheeks to the Sauce, cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

7.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes:
Place potatoes in a large pot of salted boiling water and cook for 10 minutes until very soft.
Turn the stove off, drain potatoes, then return to the pot.
Add butter and milk and use a potato masher to mash until smooth.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Use more milk to adjust the consistency to your liking. I like it fairly loose because it seems creamier (and less potato goes further).
Use a stick blender if you want it to be very smooth (this is what I did).

8.

To Serve:
Serve beef cheeks on Creamy Mashed Potatoes, drizzled with a generous amount of Sauce. Garnish with finely chopped parsley if desired.

Bon Appetit!