Guinness – Beef Cheek – Ragu

Hi there

This dish is a massive crowd pleaser and absolutely perfect to serve right now during the winter months.

Beef cheeks are such an underutilised cut of meat and trust me once your tried them you will fall in love!!  This recipe is great for both adults and children (the alcohol will evaporate during the cooking process), my young niece for example absolutely loves this dish as the meat is sooooo super tender.

I like to serve this dish with either fresh Pappardelle or Orecchiette pasta, silky smooth polenta or good old fashion mash potato!!  If you have any left overs you are in luck …… simply freeze them in an air tight container and you can defrost and use later by adding some vegetables to make a pie OR puree the meat to make some homemade Ravioli …………. oh god I am getting hunger already !!

This recipe will easily feed eight hungry people, so why not invite your friends around for a fabulous Sunday lunch!!

Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

2 kg Beef Cheeks (get your butcher to remove the silver skin for you)
2-3 cans of Guinness
1 ltr of full fat cream (if you use skimmed cream the sauce will split ie disaster don’t do it!!)
3 brown onions – peel and cut into fine dice
2 garlic cloves – peel and thinly slice
2 tbs tomato puree
1 bunch of thyme – pick leaves off the stalk
5 large bay leaves
1 bunch parsley – pick and roughly chop
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Freshly ground pepper
Pink Murray River Sea Salt
Parmesan Cheese – either grated or shaved (using a vegetable peeler)


Preparation:

  • tightly pack the beef cheeks  in a container and pour over the Guinness – you need to ensure the Guinness covers all the beef though ie you want the beef to be totally submerged – put a lid on the container and place in the fridge
  • if possible marinate the beef checks 3 days before you intend to cook them – this allows the Guinness favour to penetrate the meat and will also help tenderise the meat
  • This dish is best made a day or two before, this will give you a better flavour and also allow the meat to cool down in the cooking liquid AND very importantly allow you to use the cooking liquid to make the sauce (it is also easy to slice the cheeks when they are cold)

Method:

  • pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees
  • remove the beef cheeks from the fridge 30-40 mins beforehand – this will allow the beef to come to room temperature
  • in a large fry pan – bring the pan up to a high heat – once the pan is hot add some EVOO – add the onions cook for approx 5-8 minutesdo not allow them to colour though – you just want to bring out the nature sugars of the onions – reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, 1/2 bunch of picked thyme and tomato puree – ensure the onions and garlic are covered in tomato paste and cook for a further 3 minutesstir constantly as you don’t want the tomato puree to burn – remove fry pan from the heat
  • using a large baking tray –  place the beef cheeks on the bottom of the tray – season generously with fresh ground pepper – cover the beef cheeks with the onion and garlic mix – add 3 bay leaves – pour over the Guinness that the beef cheeks have been marinating incover the baking tray with foil and ensure it is sealed around the edges of the baking tray – if your baking tray is too small you can use two baking trays – just make sure you distribute the ingredients evenly over both baking trays
  • place the baking tray in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 100 degrees
  • the beef cheeks will take approx 4-6 hours to be at their best!!
  • once the beef is ready – remove the baking tray from the oven and place the tray on top of a cake rack to cool down – once cool – transfer the meat and liquid into a clean contain and      place in the fridge uncovered (if the space in your fridge will allow –  place the container on top of the cake rack to assist the cooling process) once completely cold put the lid on the container – it is important that the meat be allowed cool down in the liquid

To finish / serve:

  • remove the beef cheeks from the cold cooking liquid and slice each beef cheek width ways as thinly as you can – place in a clean container and return to the fridge whilst you make the sauce
  • add 6 cups of the cooking liquid to the cream in a high sided saucepan with heavy base plus 2  bay leaves, remaining ½ bunch of picked thyme (adding the fresh thyme and bay leaves will “refresh” the sauce and give it a lovely aromatic lift in flavour), 1 tsp of Pink Murray River Sea Saltgently bring the liquid to the boilreduce to a medium heat and allow to simmer gently until the sauce has reduced by 1/3stir occasionally to ensure it does not catch on the bottom of the pan
  • once the sauce has reduced add the beef cheeks to the sauce and heat through – you may want to take some of the sauce out ie to ensure you have the right ratio of sauce to meat
  • check the sauce for seasoning and add some additional Pink Murray River Sea Salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • Depending what carb you are serving with the beef either:
    • add the beef to the fresh pasta and mix together thoroughly
    • place the polenta on the bottom of a warm platter / serving dish and gently place the beef cheeks on top
    • serve mash potato on the side and snuggle the beef up next to the mash
  • Either way serve with plenty of freshly grated or shaved parmesan cheese in a separate bowl and some freshly chopped parsley
  • spoil yourself and drizzle over a little Dandaragan EVOO  over the finished dish xxx
  • Serve on warm plates

The secret(s) to this dish are simple:

  • marinate the beef a couple of days before
  • cook the meat the day before
  • allow the cream sauce to gently reduce
  • use good quality parmesan cheese
  • check the seasoning before you serve it AND use Pink Murray River Sea Salt !!
  • the dish is meant to be “rustic” so don’t be afraid to serve with the bay leaves AND serve on a large platter in the middle of the table to encourage everyone to dig in and go for seconds xxx
  • serve with a light salad such as rocket, pear and parmesan with a sharp Balsamic dressing
  • enjoy with a good bottle of red wine !!
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2 comments
  1. Roy Boyles said:

    Love the beef cheek recipe can you use pig cheeks in place of beef?

    • Hi there -if you’d prefer to use pig cheeks I’d suggest swapping the Guinness for a good quality apple cider. And I’d also reduce the amount of cream in the sauce so you don’t over power the more delicate flavour of pork – perhaps also stir through a little good quality dijon mustard into the sauce to finish – let me know how you get on – T xx

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