This recipe is taken from BBC Good Food and uses a great value cut of beef, delivering maximum flavour for minimum prep. It does mean marinating the meat for 24 hours and leaving it to cool in the sauce once it’s braised, but neither are essential, so you could skip these steps and still end up with a delicious dish.
- 4 beef cheeks (about 250g each), trimmed of excess fat and sinew
- 500ml bottle of dark ale
- 2 tbsps vegetable oil
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic bulb, broken into cloves, peeled
- A few thyme and rosemary sprigs
- 1 litre chicken stock
Two and a half days before you plan to eat, put the cheeks in a bowl and pour over the ale. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
Heat the oven to 140C/120C fan/gas mark 1. Remove the cheeks from the beer, pat dry on kitchen paper and season, reserving the beer. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish or heavy-based pan. Sear the cheeks on all sides, then set aside.
Add the vegetables and garlic to the hot dish and cook for 10 minutes until browned.
Return the cheeks to the dish with the ale, stock and herbs. Gently bring to the boil, skimming off any impurities as you go.
Cover with a tight fitting lid (or foil) and braise in the oven for 4 hours until the meat is tender.
Once cooked, leave the beef to rest in the cooking liquid until cool. This will give a much fuller flavour. Then cover and chill in the fridge overnight.
The following day, remove the cheeks from the fridge. Put the casserole dish over a medium heat to warm through before lifting the cheeks into a bowl and passing the liquor through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Bubble on the hob for 15-20 minutes until reduced to a rich sauce. Season and return the cheeks to the sauce to warm through. Remove the cheeks again, slice and divide between plates, spooning over some of the sauce.
Serve with steamed seasonal greens and mash potatoes or dumplings.