Beef Cheek is a fantastic budget cut and a perfect excuse to get the Slow Cooker out.
Beef Cheeks are the cheek muscle of cows and they are a very tough cut of meat that needs to be cooked long and slow to make it tender.
The great thing about having to cook them for a long time is that the beef cheek absorb the flavours of braising liquid really well and when you cut into it, you get an explosion of flavours, almost like pulled pork or brisket.
As the the first dish of our Winter Series 2018/19 – and because we cannot wait to get the Slow Cooker going – we are sharing with you a very easy and flavourful recipe, Beef Cheek Ragu with Gremolata, can be served with pasta or mash.
- 4 (about 1.2kg) Beef cheeks, cut into 3-4cm cubes
- 2 tbs rapeseed oil, plus extra
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 stick celery, chopped
- 500ml red wine
- 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes or 6 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- sprig fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
For the gremolata
- 1/2 bunch parsley
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- For the gremolata, combine all ingredients in a small bowl, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
- Bring beef cheeks to room temperature and season. Heat a large skillet or frying pan to medium high, add the oil and sear meat until golden brown all over, then transfer to your slow cooker.
- In the same pan, heat 1 teaspoon oil if needed and add onion, carrot and celery to the mix, sauté on medium heat until onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes, then add garlic. Cook 5 minutes, until softened, then add to the beef cheeks in the slow cooker.
- Add wine to pan and bring to a simmer, to deglaze the pan and transfer to the slow cooker.
- Add stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme and tomato paste to the pot, and cook, covered, in medium-high heat, for 2 to 2 ½ hours (stirring and checking regularly) until cheeks are completely tender.
- Remove lid and let simmer 20 to 30 minutes to reduce and thicken liquid, if liked.
- Serve with your favourite pasta or mash and seasonal veg, adding spoonfuls of ragu and gremolata to your bowl.
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