Beef cheeks! When was the last time you tried them? Some call them ox cheeks and they can be an economical cut of meat that, if prepared correctly, will make you look like a superstar in the kitchen. This recipe is adapted from Grossi Florentino’s cookbook; Secrets and Recipes. The Thermomix makes quick work of the preparation and cooks the accompaniments with minimal effort. This is how I love to cook!
The most important thing to remember when cooking cheeks is that they need time. The beef cheeks from my local butcher are quite large and I usually cut them into thirds. This is no easy task! Even with my beautifully sharp Wustof knife, I literally have to saw through the meat. Yet, when cooked for three to four hours they become fall-apart-tender. All of that toughness melts away, to give an incredibly flavoursome meal. Two of my kids would probably feel a little squeemish if I called them beef cheeks, so we simply call it slow cooked beef.
What makes this dish a hero is the robust flavours of sage, juniper berries and star anise and these strong, aromatic seasonings certainly are an indication of the intensity of this cut of meat. They don't overpower the dish at all!
The accompaniment of a celeriac or parsnip mash add even more oomph. Simple steamed greens turn this meal into a warming, winter dish that is sure to become a favourite in any Melbourne home, especially given our current weather forecast.