Beef Cheeks – how to cook

If you are like me… who had never heard of Beef Cheeks a few years ago – you be asking two questions.  1 – are they really the Cheeks?  and 2 – Why???

The answers are yes they are the Cheeks – and why?  Because they are the most delicious pieces of Beef you can cook (recipes below) with a surprisingly high level of medicinal benefit to your body!  The texture is similar to the best parts of Lamb Shanks and Beef Cheeks actually have lower calories and  higher protein – gram for gram – than a beef roast.  And of course, they’re 100% Gluten Free!

According to Amy Kubal, a registered dietician who works with athletes, “They’re a very nutrient-dense food that will support any sportsman’s muscles far better than the traditional cuts of beef”.

In addition, Beef Cheeks have been proved in many studies to improve joint recovery and arthritis – With others showing that Beef Cheeks not only support digestion and aid nail & hair growth, but also helps to tighten skin.

Palmdale Meats, Poultry and Seafood, in North Adelaide, have Beef Cheeks conveniently packaged in cryo-packed packs of two.  A single Cheek is easily enough for one person with plenty of veggies, but two is a decadently delicious meal for a hungry soul.

That’s all very well, but how DO you cook them?  Basically, you can do anything you want with them – as long as they are covered with liquid and cooked slowly.  Anything from 2 hours to…. well…. there isn’t a limit – you can’t actually over cook them. I’ve had them cooking – VERY low heat – all day while I was out, ready to eat when I get home.

Notes:

  1. Because it DOES take a while to cook…. why not cook 2 or 3 times more than you need and freeze a meal or two for a quick and delicious meal?
  2. Beef Cheeks are not quite as plentiful as other meat and you may need to order them.  Ring Palmdale Butchers, in North Adelaide Village Shopping Centre – O’Connell Street, on 08 8267 5498 and ask them to put your Beef Cheeks aside, or order them in for you 🙂

John actually introduced me to them some time ago – and his recipe is below.  I have taken up the challenge in developing a couple of good recipes and two of those recipes are below as well.

John’s Recipe – (stove top)

Ingredients

  • Large Saucepan with lid
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil, butter or dripping
  • 2-8 Beef Cheeks
  • 1-4 litres of stock (or if you are a Thermomix owner, 1-4 litres of water and 1-4 heaped teaspoons of stock concentrate – beef is best)

Method

  • Place oil and onions into saucepan and sauté over a medium heat until opaque.
  • Add garlic and sauté for another minute, until fragrant
  • Place everthing except for the stock into the saucepan
  • Pour stock in until it covers the Beef Cheeks by a good 3-4cm.
  • Simmer on very low for at least 2 hours.  (3 to 4 hours preferable)
  • CAUTION, make sure you are stirring occasionally and making sure that there is plenty of liquid still in the saucepan.  Do not leave this to simmer by itself, it needs checking every 15-20 minutes.

 

Bee’s Recipe #1 – (oven)

Ingredients

  • Large, deep, casserole dish with lid
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of cracked pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 1-2 Star Anise
  • 1-2 fresh (if you can) Bay Leaves
  • 2 (maybe more) litres of liquid made up of..
    • NOTE: Chose one only… not all of them!
      • Mixture of Plum Sauce and stock
      • Mixture of Pomegranate Molasses, Red Wine and stock
      • Mixture of Red Wine and Stock (or just Red Wine 🙂 )
      • Stock with 2 teaspoons of ground Tumeric and a good thumb sized piece of ginger, chopped/grated

Directions

  • Add the cheeks to a deep oven proof casserole dish with a lid. Add the spices and pour the your selection of liquid over the cheeks, make sure there is enough to cover them by 1-2 cm (no need to have it too deep as they won’t dry out as much as on the stove).
    Put lid on the casserole dish and place in the oven
    Cook in a slow oven (100oC) for 3-6 hours.
  • Don’t allow it to dry out, if you are going to leave it all day like I did, add a few extra cm’s of stock just to make sure – you can alway reduce down later.

 

Bees Recipe #2 – (Thermal mixer like a Thermomix or similar)

Ingredients

  • Steaming attachment for your cooker
  • 4 Beef Cheeks
  • 2 onions, cut into large chunks
  • 250g of sweet & sour sauce (or tomato sauce, or plum sauce)
  • Water
  • Veggies
  • 2-3 small bay leaves
  • Sprig of Rosemary

Method

  1. Pour the sauce you selected into the Thermy Bowl
  2. Top to the 1.5 litre mark with water
  3. put the lid on
  4. In the Steaming Container, lay the Beef Cheeks – BE CAREFUL not to block the steaming holes! Use a couple of crossed forks or a small rack over the holes if you need to.
  5. Over the Beef Cheeks, lay the onion and the rosemary.
  6. Steam for 1 hour on a slow speed – 2 on most cookers.
  7. CAREFULLY, remove steamer and top back up to 1.5 litres with BOILING WATER
  8. Steam for another hour
  9. You can repeat steps 7 and 8 if you feel it’s necessary (usually isn’t)
  10. CAREFULLY, remove steamer and
    • Add veggies to the steamer
    • top the water up by 500g with BOILING WATER
  11. Steam for 30-40 minutes, until veggies are cooked.
  12. Yum, eat and be amazed!  I have a thermal bowl that keeps the food warm for ages and I then sit the cheeks in that until I’m ready… mostly because I just HAVE to have mashed potatoes with them…. yum!!

Normally, you will find Beef Cheeks in stock already at Palmdale Meats, Poultry and Seafood – but if there’s been a rush on them of if you are in the mind to have them mid summer – you may need to allow them to order some in for you. Give Palmdale Meats a call,

(08) 8267 5498