One of our absolute favourite cuts of meat is beef cheeks. It comes from a part of the animal that is not used extensively which makes it naturally tender. The gelatin in the meat keeps it moist during cooking, creating a dish that literally melts in the mouth.
It is also a very cheap cut of meat which makes it very affordable to the budget-conscious cook, even if you buy organic.
Barely a week goes by where we don’t eat beef cheeks in one form or another. It makes a great ‘set and forget’ slow cooked meal and the variations are endless.
Here’s one of them:
Slow-Cooked Beef Cheeks with Molasses
1kg grass-fed beef cheeks cut into 2.5cm chunks
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 leek, cut into 5cm lengths
2 large carrots, cut into 5cm lengths
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1tbsp unsulphured blackstrap molasses
5 stems of fresh thyme or 1 tbsp of dried
3 cups homemade beef stock
Butter, coconut oil or tallow for frying
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Firstly season your beef with plenty of salt.
2. In a large saucepan over a medium high heat, fry half the beef cheeks in butter or oil until browned.
3. Remove from pan and brown the rest of the meat, adding more oil if necessary.
4. Remove the beef from the pan, turn the heat down and sauté the onion until soft.
5. Add the carrot, leek and garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring often.
6. Return the beef to the pan.
7. Add the beef stock, molasses and thyme.
8. Top up with water, if necessary, to cover the meat.
9. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
10. Remove the lid and cook for a further 30 minutes, allowing the liquid to reduce slightly.
11. Remove the thyme stems.
12. Serve with brown rice or mashed potato and some wilted greens.
by Mel Duncan