01 April 2012

A cheeky piece of beef

My first beef cheek experience was at Spanish restaurant, Ole, at South Bank in Brisbane. It was the most tender, melt in your mouth piece of meat I'd eaten in a long time.

I already had this cut of meat in my freezer and I've been wanting to cook it up for a while now. I finally got my act together and found a recipe in my copy of the 2011 Collector's Edition of Gourmet Traveller.

What I liked about this recipe was its use of simple, yet tasty ingredients. The next best thing was the price of beef cheeks. They are cheap. I got mine (500g) for under AUD$3 just from a regular supermarket. I think that is a bit of a bargain, myself. However, you may not always find them, so it would be worth talking to your butcher and even ordering them, if need be.

Treat your cheek like chuck steak; you need to put the time into cooking them to reap the delicious reward of this tender, tasty bit of cheekiness.

Slow cooked beef cheeks
by 2011 Collector's Edition, Gourmet Traveller
Serves 4

Slow cooked beef cheeks on
cauliflower puree and beans.
(no food photography award will be handed to me anytime soon)

2 tbsp olive oil
4 beef cheeks (about 250g each) - (I was only cooking for two and had a 500g cheek)
3 onions, halved, thinly sliced lengthways
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 fresh bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs (I also added a sprig of rosemary)
375 ml good quality red wine
125 ml (half cup) beef stock (I used beef consomme to give it a richer flavour)

Please note: I ended up using 500ml of stock -- and I was only cooking half the amount of meat -- due to my very uncooperative oven. I suggest you have more liquid on hand (even just water would do) and keep checking the beef during the 3 hour cooking process. If the dish is drying out (as mine kept doing) add more liquid.

The deliciously simple ingredients
that go into this dish

Preheat oven to 150C. Heat oil in a flameproof casserole dish large enough to fit beef cheeks in. Add cheeks, cook over high heat until browned (3-5 minutes each side), then transfer to a plate.

My sealed beef cheek

Add onion and garlic to casserole dish and stir occasionally over a low heat until starting to caramelise (8-10 minutes). Return cheeks to casserole dish, add herbs, red wine and stock, season to taste, then bring to the simmer.

The beef cheek in the boiling braising
liquid before its transfer to the oven. 
Cover and transfer the dish to the oven. Cook until beef cheeks are tender (3-3.5 hours).

I served mine with pureed cauliflower and green beans.

-recipe end-

I have fallen in love with beef cheeks and will certainly be cooking them again.


  1. Slow cooked beef cheeks = total comfort food.
    The final result looks stunning. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks, Rachel. It was such a scrummy dish and one I know I will be making a few times to chase away the winter blues.