Beef cheeks are such a fantastic cut for winter time. Make the most of this melting cut by slow cooking it and bathing it in Asian flavours like soy, star anise, ginger, orange and Shaoxing wine and you'll have a dinner that people can't wait to eat!
Dear Reader, I do have to give you a little warning you about beef cheeks. They're for those that want to commit time. I don't recommend them for weeknights because of the long cooking time. I recommend them for weekends when you're pottering about the house and you can inhale the delicious aromas coming out of your kitchen. Or if you do want to eat these on a weeknight you can make these in a slow cooker and by the evening you will have something truly delicious to eat. But don't attempt these after work on the stovetop unless you don't mind eating late.
Another warning is that because it is a popular cut you generally will have to order these ahead of time from your butcher. My butcher told me that all the restaurants had most of the supply of beef cheeks this winter so sometimes they wouldn't come in their order.
With those warnings dispensed with, a friend Natasha recently told me about a time she made beef cheeks. She was inspired to make a hearty dish by a cooking show and so one night after work she decided to make the beef cheeks for dinner.
By the time she got home from work it was around 7pm and by the time that they were finished she ate them close to midnight. All she could do was wait patiently while they simmered and the meat softened down. "It was like the time a friend invited us over for dinner and she was just putting the turkey in the oven as everyone arrived," she recalled. She said that as soon as everyone saw the uncooked turkey they sighed and knew they were in for a long night!
But make these on the weekend and you'll be duly rewarded! Pinky swear and yes this is a pushy recipe Dear Reader :)
So tell me Dear Reader, do you save more complex dishes for the weekend? Do you often cook beef cheeks or secondary cuts?
Luscious, Saucy Slow Cooked Asian Style Beef Cheeks
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours 15 minutes. Note: sometimes I find that these slow cooked beef cuts take longer than other batches. I'm not sure why, perhaps it has to do with the beef itself. So leave yourself plenty of time.
- Oil for frying
- 3-4 onions, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 beef cheeks (around 1 kilo)
- 2 inches ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup light soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
- 3 pieces orange peel
- 2 star anise
- 3 dried red chillies (or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 steamed pak choy split down lengthways and rice to serve
Step 1 - Heat a cast iron pot on medium heat. Saute onions in oil for around 3-4 minutes, then add garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add beef cheeks and brown on each side Add the orange juice, soy sauce, water, Shaoxing wine, orange peel, star anise and chillies. Bring to a boil, knock heat down and cover and simmer for 3 hours. You can check on it but as long as the lid is on tightly so not much water evaporates it should be fine. In the meantime you can make the greens and rice.
Step 2 - After 3 hours add the dark soy sauce and sugar and turn the heat up high and remove the lid and reduce the liquid so that it becomes glossy and sticky-it will take around 10 minutes to reduce and concentrate the liquid. Serve with greens and rice (a Japanese rice like a koshihikari is great with this).