What are Beef Cheeks and How to Make It

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Not many people are aware of the goodness of beef cheeks. Beef cheeks are succulent pieces of meat that can make your day. These gorgeous beef cheeks when slowly cooked taste heavenly. Beef cheeks are an interesting cut of beef. 

If you want to try out something different or add a new beef variety to your old menu, beef cheeks make for a good variation to the usual table. Slow-cooked beef cheeks are great for winter dinners. Warm and juicy beef cheeks will make everybody enjoy the party and make the guests feel special. These cuts are not so popular making it budget-friendly but full of flavour. 

Beef cheeks are not a popular cut that many choose, but why stick to the old cut when you can try something new. Are you wondering what beef cheeks are and how to make them? Worry not, we are here to explain what they are and how you can easily make it at home for your family and friends. 

What are beef cheeks?

beef cheeks recipe

Let’s solve the mystery and look at what beef cheeks are. The animal’s facial cheeks are what beef cheeks are. This facial muscle is used quite frequently to chew fodder. It has a lot of sinews but the butchers trim it off to give meat eaters a clean and nice beef cheek. 

Beef cheeks are quite tough and require a lot of time to cook well. It also requires slow cooking. Beef cheeks absorb any flavour well. The texture of beef cheeks resembles that of pulled pork as it is a little stringy. Unlike some other beef cuts, beef cheeks are not dry but juicy. 

Beef cheeks have gained popularity over the years thanks to many cooking shows that show gourmet dishes. 

What Do Beef Cheeks Taste Like?

beef cheeks taste

There are multiple ways in which you can add flavour to beef cheeks. You can add your creativity and test out various flavour combinations to know what goes well with beef cheeks. It has a fatty and beefy taste but the meat is tender when slow-cooked. It has a high percentage of fat hence the buttery flavour. 

You can add various spices and herbs like basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, ginger, and turmeric to enhance the rich meaty flavor of beef cheeks. Beef cheeks are great when paired with red wine, some potatoes, and a green leafy salad. 

Experiment with various spices to make beef cheeks more interesting. Beef cheeks are juicy cuts and absorb any flavor well. There is no dryness in this cut and the texture is stringy. 

What you need for this Beef Cheeks recipe

This is a rich restaurant-quality beef cheek recipe that will bring gourmet food to your table and won’t burn a hole in your pocket. You will need some ingredients to make this recipe which is easy to source from any store. 

Beef Cheeks 

beef cheeks

A few years back beef cheeks were not a popular choice of cut but thanks to many fancy cooking shows it has irked curiosity in beef cheeks. It used to be cheaper than other cuts as well but thanks to its growing demand and popularity, it is now sold at a higher price as well. It is now available at most meat-selling stores. 

If at all you cannot source beef cheeks, you can substitute it with any other cut of beef that is used for slow cooking. An ideal alternative will be beef short ribs for this recipe. You can cut beef cheeks into chunks of 250grams or 8oz. This will give you the same quantity of liquid and cooking time as this recipe. 

Red Wine 

red wine

This recipe requires red wine for cooking. This slow-cooked beef cheek requires an Italian classic red wine for making braising liquid. This red wine has warm, deep and flavors that are complex which makes for a good stock base. This is perfect for the beef cheek recipe. 

You can find a red wine that is full-bodied like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot at any local liquor store. You can find alternatives according to your liking as well, there are no rules when you cook at home!

You can use a bottle of expensive wine to make a quick sauce but you can use any wine for slow cooking. Nobody will ever understand if the wine is cheap or expensive, so don’t worry. 

For making the sauce, you won’t need the whole bottle of wine. You can either drink it or if it is not the one you would like to drink, you can freeze it in ziplock bags to use in the future for other sauces. 

You will also need some other ingredients for this recipe as well like carrots, celery and more. 

How to make Beef Cheeks Recipe

making beef cheeks

Now that you have understood what beef cheeks are we can move on to how to make this luscious juicy recipe of beef cheeks. This tender meat will keep you asking for more. Though the recipe takes a while to cook as it is a slow-cooked beef cheek, it is packed with flavour and depth. This recipe will make the beef cheek melt in your mouth and the sauce is just cherry on the cake. Don’t blame us if you find your guests having the sauce right in a big cup. 

The following recipe will make enough servings for six people. It involves six beef cheeks that are small, you can also switch it up and add more or use four large beef cheeks. The recipe will make a flavourful beef cheek that will be over within minutes. If at all there are leftovers you can make Ragu in a jiffy for a pie or pasta. 

Let’s jump into the recipe without wasting any time. 

Ingredients

Separated Olive Oil – 3 tsp 

Beef Cheeks – 1.5 kgs or 3 lb ( 6 small beef cheeks or 4 large beef cheeks)

Onion – 1 cup ( brown, white, or yellow)

Roughly diced celery Stalk – 1 cup 

Roughly diced carrot – ¾ cup 

Minced garlic cloves – 4 

Fresh Thyme – 6 stems or 1 ½ tsp dry thyme leaves 

Dried bay leaves- 4 ( or fresh bay leaves 3) 

Beef stock or broth- 1 cup or 250ml 

Red wine – 2 cups 

Salt- 2-3 tsp 

Instructions

  1. Start by prepping the beef cheeks, trim off any fatty membrane that is large on the beef cheek and pat it dry. Then season the beef cheeks all over with pepper and 1tsp salt.
  2. Take a large pot with a heavy base and place it over a high flame. Add 2 tsp of olive oil and add half the beef cheeks to the pot. Sear the meat well till they are properly browned. Repeat the process with the remaining beef cheeks and keep them aside on a plate after removing them from the pot. Do not crowd the pot with too many beef cheeks. 
  3. Turn down the flame to medium-high and add 1 tsp of olive oil which was remaining to the pot. Heat it a little and then add onion and garlic to the pot. Saute it for around 3 minutes till you don’t see the onions turning translucent. 
  4. Once the onions are done, add carrots and celery to the pot and saute it well for another 3 minutes. 

There are various methods you can choose to cook the beef cheeks, like in a slow cooker, pressure cooker, oven, or stovetop. Choose the one you are most comfortable with. 

Directions for Slow Cooker 

  1. Add the onion mixture to the slow cooker and on top of that mixture add the beef cheeks. 
  2. Heat the pot and add wine to it. Turn the flame to high, let it simmer. Simmer for a minute to let the wine cook out a little bit. If there are any bits at the bottom of the pot that are brown, scrape them and let them mix with the wine in the pot. 
  3. Into the slow cooker, add the wine and all the other ingredients which were remaining. Start with pepper and a pinch of salt to add more taste. 
  4. Cook it for 8 hours in the slow cooker on low heat or on high flame for 6 hours if the beef cheeks are 250gms or 8oz. If you have 350 grams or 120oz of beef cheeks you can cook them for 10 to 12 hours on low heat or for 8 hours on high heat. 
  5. When done, carefully open the cooker and remove the beef cheeks from the slow cooker. Pick out the stems of thyme and bay leaves from the cooker and discard them. 
  6. Take a hand blender and puree the liquid for braising into a silky smooth sauce. The braising liquid will change its color during this process, it will turn into a lighter brown from dark brown color. 
  7. Take a saucepan over the stove and add the liquid to it. Set the heat to a medium-high and let it simmer until it reduces to ? or ¼ of its original quantity and turns darker. It will take around 10 minutes to turn into a gravy-like consistency. 
  8. Adjust the seasoning and turn off the heat. Add the beef cheeks to it and serve it warm. 

To Serve

You can serve beef cheeks with mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower. Add a generous amount of the silky smooth sauce atop and garnish with parsley. 

Nutrition

For 389gms of Serving 

Calories- 586 Cal

Carbohydrates – 6gms 

Protein- 49 gms 

Fat- 33 gms

Saturated Fat- 12 gms 

Cholesterol- 148 mg

Sodium- 2195mg 

Fiber- 1gm 

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