(credit to Recipe Tin Eats) A sophisticated take on beef burgundy. Pair with Creamy Cauliflower.
- 3 tbsp olive oil, separated
- 1.5kg/3lb beef cheeks, (4 large or 6 small beef cheeks)
- 1 onion (white, brown or yellow), roughly diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 celery stalk, roughly diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 carrot, roughly diced (about ¾ cup)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 stems of fresh thyme or 1½ tsp dried thyme leaves
- 4 dried bay leaves (or 3 fresh bay leaves)
- 1 cup beef stock (or 1-3 cups water)
- 2 cups red wine (cabernet sauvignon, merlot, chianti works, too)
- 3 tsp salt, separated
- Black pepper
Prepare the beef cheeks: cut off any large, fatty membrane. Pat dry then season each side with 1 tsp of salt and a good grind of pepper. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy based pan (or casserole dish with a lid if you are baking or pot if you are cooking on the stove) over high heat. Sear the beef cheeks on each side until nicely browned. If your pan is not large enough, work in batches rather than crowding the pan. Remove beef cheeks onto a plate, loosely cover with foil to keep warm. Turn down the heat to medium high and heat the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic, onion and carrots. Sauté for 3 minutes until onion is becoming translucent, then add the celery and sauté for a further 3 minutes. Pour the wine into the slow cooker, then all the remaining ingredients (including 2 tsp salt). Simmer to cook off the wine. Cook in the slow cooker on Low for 8 hours or High for 6 hours for 250g/8oz size beef cheeks or Low for 10 - 12 hours or High for 8 hours for 350g/12oz beef cheeks. (make sure your water does not disappear!!!) Open the slow cooker and remove the beef cheeks. Discard the thyme stems and bay leaves. Use a handheld stick blender or Vitamix to puree the braising liquid into a smooth Sauce - it will change from a dark brown to a lighter brown colour. If using a slow cooker without a sauté setting, pour the Sauce into a saucepan. If you have a sauté setting, leave it in the slow cooker. Put the saucepan over medium heat (or set the slow cooker to sauté setting) and bring to simmer. Simmer until the Sauce turns a darker brown colour and reduces by about ¼ to ⅓, to a gravy consistency - about 10 minutes. Do a taste test and adjust the seasoning (salt and pepper) to your taste. Remove from heat, return beef cheeks to the Sauce, cover and keep warm until ready to serve.