Once upon a time I had the pleasure of tasting beef cheeks at Black Hoof in Toronto. I’m not sure why people get confused at what part of the cow it is from as the name is pretty obvious…it’s the cheeks of the cow…not the butt but the cheeks on the face.
You would think that it would be very tough considering cow’s spend a lot of time chewing grass but braised for long hours, this cut of meat turns super tender and buttery…quite delicious in fact!
It’s not always easy to find beef cheeks, you’ll probably have to special order it from a good butcher shop. I ended up asking the organic meat farm I order from and they were more than happy to send it my way on my next order.
Served on a bed of mashed parsnips, a dollop of bacon jam from Skillet and finished with a red wine reduction sauce, no one was squeamish while eating this meal!
Here’s the recipe!
What you need!
3-4 lbs of beef cheeks
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 bottle of red wine like pinot noir (reserve 1 1/2 cup for sauce)
1 cup of coffee
1/2 large red onion diced
3 carrots diced
1 tbsp tarragon or thyme
What to do!
1. If your beef cheeks haven’t been trimmed you’ll have to do so. Trim off any extra fat or silver skin and pat dry. Cut into desired portion size.
2. In a dutch oven on medium heat, drizzle some olive oil in the bottom and sear all sides of each beef cheek while seasoning with salt and pepper. You may have to do more than one batch. Set aside.
3. Don’t worry if there are brown bits at the bottom! Add some more olive oil and throw in the garlic, onions, carrots and tarragon. Sautee until aromatic and soft.
4. Splash in some red wine and deglaze all the brown bits from the bottom of the dutch oven. Place the beef cheeks back in and pour in the coffee and the rest of the wine (remember to reserve 1 1/2 cup for the sauce!). Put the lid on and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 3 hours turning the beef cheeks every once in a while.
5. Half an hour before your beef cheeks are done, start preparing the sauce. In a small saucepan pour in the wine and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Reduce until thickened. You can add in honey or adjust the balsamic vinegar to your liking.
6. When the beef cheeks are cooked, they should be very tender like brisket. Serve it on a bed of mashed parsnips, scoop out some of the veggies and then the beef cheeks on top. Drizzle the sauce on top and then you’re done! Enjoy!