Red Wine Beef Cheeks

Red Wine Beef Cheeks

By Chef Dirk Haltenhof

Cooking braised beef cheeks—one of Chef Dirk’s most popular dishes—in your own kitchen is not especially complicated, but it does require time and attention. It is well worth the effort: this is a deeply satisfying dish that’ll nourish you down to your bones. The flavor of the wine looms large, so be sure to cook with the same bottle you plan on serving with dinner.
2 kg beef cheeks

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 tbsp juniper berries, crushed

2 star anise

3 sprigs rosemary

10 small bay leaves

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper

2 cups of good red wine

2 large onions, roughly chopped

2 stalks of celery and carrots, roughly chopped, seared with a spoonful of tomato paste

2 cups reduced beef stock

1 orange rind, peeled in strips

The day before cooking, marinate the beef in a mixture of the red wine, olive oil, garlic cloves, orange rind and all the herbs and spices.

Preheat the oven to 120° C. Drizzle the beef cheeks with about 60 ml of olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. In a frying pan on medium heat, brown the cheeks on each side. Place the seared cheeks in a heavy casserole dish. Wipe out the frying pan and then add the remaining olive oil and the celery and the onions; brown them too. Season with salt and pepper and add the vegetables to the beef in the casserole dish.

Add the beef stock and place the covered casserole in the oven. Turn the beef cheeks frequently. Check after three hours; depending on their size and the breed of cattle, the cheeks may take up to six hours to become tender. Remove the lid for the final two hours of cooking.

Bon appétit!