Winter is the perfect time to cook sticky, gelatinous beef cheeks. In this recipe they’re flavoured with a few Asian ingredients, which add more aroma and zing than most European versions. If you don’t have kaffir leaves, try a few cumquat or lemon leaves (well washed and pesticide free, of course) instead. Matthew Evans, Gourmet Farmer Series 4
This low and slow stew suits Sadie's palate for Asian spices and Matthew's love of European food.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 kg beef cheeks (or beef shank or oxtail)
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 cm piece ginger, scrubbed and thickly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
- 1 lemongrass stalk, bruised with the back of a knife
- 200 ml red wine
- 200 ml white wine (ideally unwooded, so Riesling or gewürztraminer are good)
- 2-3 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Mashed potato or steamed rice, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place the oil in a large, wide heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Fry the beef cheeks until golden on all sides. Half way through browning, add the onion and carrot and cook until slightly browned (the onion will darken first, so don’t overdo it) removing the beef cheeks when golden. Add the ginger, garlic and lemongrass, then return the cheeks. Add the wine and bring to the boil, skimming any impurities off the top. Reduce the heat to low, add the lime leaves, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for 3 hours (or you can do this in a 150˚C oven) or until it’s so tender you could cut it with a deep sigh.
At this point you may want to reduce the sauce so that it thickens more. To do this, take the meat from the pan and simmer the cooking liquid rapidly on the stove until slightly thickened. The wider the pan, the quicker it will reduce. Alternatively, you can strain the sauce, discard the lemongrass, lime leaves and ginger, then puree the onion and carrot and return to the sauce to thicken it. Serve the cheeks and sauce with mashed potato or steamed rice.
• Beef cheeks can be a little harder to source than some cuts of meat, so ask your butcher a day or two ahead to be sure they have them in stock.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Lucy Tweed. Food preparation by Tammi Kwok. Creative concept by Belinda So.