Beef cheeks

Here is another cut of meat that I had never heard of until recently. Like Osso Bucco, which is also new to me, beef cheeks are now a regular on my menu. When I first heard of them (on Masterchef) I asked at several butchers and I couldn’t get them. Apparently they are mostly exported from Australia.  I finally found them at a local Woolworths supermarket.

With most of my cooking I tend to go for a simple approach, and don’t use a lot of herbs, spices or anything else that masks the flavour of the main ingredient. There are many fancy recipes available on the internet for beef cheeks, but I simply slow cook them in a casserole with a few veges like carrots, celery, onion and a clove or two of garlic, then serve them with mashed potato. The cheeks I buy are trimmed and skinned, but still have a lot of the connective tissue on them. I don’t remove any of it! After a couple of hours cooking at a low heat, the cheeks are wonderfully tender, with a smooth, sticky almost jelly like texture from the collagen in them. I guess some people might find the gooeyness of them unpleasant, but I love it. And for flavour, to me they are the best of beef for casserole or braising (or at least equal to Osso Bucco).

I would really recommend if you haven’t eaten them to hunt some down and try them.

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