Saturday, 29 June 2013

Make! Beef cheeks 3 ways: Red wine braised beef cheeks

The reason I say 'beef cheeks 3 ways' is that I'm going to be doing a bit of a series on this delicious and economical cut of beef. Recently I've been branching out with the meat I buy as an attempt to be more adventurous in my cooking, whilst also saving on my shopping bill. Beef cheeks appealed to me because they are cheap, substantial and can be transformed into a variety of decadent meals.

Where to source the meat: You are unlikely to find beef cheeks in your typical supermarket meat aisles. We ordered these in advance from our local butcher; as they're not a commonly used cut your butcher will most likely need a few days notice to get these in. In terms of quantity we found that 2 beef cheeks will feed four people, and the cheeks we bought were each about the size of 2 decent sirloins. I'd recommend you ask your butcher to trim the meat for you as I've heard this is a pretty difficult and unpleasant job if you're not much of a butcher yourself! We bought enough for a few meals so that I could cook some that day and freeze the rest for trying different meals with later. As for cost, I worked out that our butcher had charged us around £2.50 per cheek, which seems extremely cheap to me as I'd normally use braising steak for this type of casserole. In my opinion the cheeks are much tastier and even more tender once cooked.

Here's the recipe. This is to serve 4 people.

2 beef cheeks, trimmed (score the surface with a sharp knife so these will cook more easily)
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chilli, sliced (optional)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbspn tomato puree
1/2 bottle red wine
500ml chicken/vegetable stock
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 150c/130c fan
Fry onions and garlic in some oil in a large casserole dish
Add beef cheeks and fry for a few minutes to colour both sides
Add chilli, tomatoes, puree, stir and bring to a simmer
Season with herbs
Add red wine and stock. Stir and allow to simmer for a few minutes
Cover and put in oven


The dish will cook in about 3 hours. Check that the meat is tender - you should easily be able to break it apart with a couple of forks.

Leave out of the oven for a few minutes before serving so that the meat can rest. Break up the meat a bit and stir before dishing up with bread/rice and seasonal veg. I stir fried some green beans and mangetout in butter and it went nicely with the dish.

If you have any leftover, keep it in the fridge and it will taste even better 24 hours later!

Do you have any tips for cooking with cheap/overlooked cuts of meat? Please let me in to your culinary secrets!

Hannah x


  1. Sounds tasty and the presentation looks really nice. No secrets from me, I'm a horrible cook. :)

  2. Thank you :) You can't go wrong with a bit of slow-cooking. And I'm sure you are not a horrible cook at all! My problem is I just never stop thinking about food ;) x


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