Braised Beef Cheeks with Potatoe Puree and Carrots

Beef Cheeks with carrotsI have hosted a number of large dinner parties recently, and I keep reaching for the same recipe.  It is a beautiful rich dish, very simple to make, and always creates gasps of satisfaction from guests.  Serve it with smooth, creamy, mashed potatoes and baby carrots.

This recipe is for 10 people, but you could easily reduce the amounts for the number of guests that you have.

Ingredients:

  • 10 x beef cheeks
  • ½ bottle of port
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 500ml of Guinness
  • 5 carrots chopped
  • 3 large onions chopped
  • 1 celery chopped
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Bouquet Garni (1 bayleaf, a small bunch of thyme and a small bunch of parsley)
  • 1 litre of Chicken Stock
  • 1 litre of beef stock
  • oil

For the meat:

  • Prepare the vegetables.

Finely chopped vegetables

  • Marinate the Beef Cheeks, carrots, onions, celery, bouquet garni, port, wine, and stout over night in a large bowl in the fridge.

Marinate the meat

  • Strain the liquid, and separate the meat from the vegetables.
  • In a large pan, boil the liquid until it is reduced to a glaze (this means that it should be slightly thicker in consistency).
  • Heat a large frying pan, until hot, add a little oil, and seal the meat.  Once sealed, sit to one side.  You will have to do this in small batches.

Sear the Beef Cheeks

  • Quickly deglaze the pan you have sealed the meat in, by taking a couple of tablespoons of the liquid, and letting it boil, scrape the pan clean, and pour out the liquid to one side.
  • Add a little more oil, and sauté the vegetables.

Saute the vegetables

  • Add the meat, the vegetables and stocks to the glaze, bring to the boil, and simmer for about 3.5 hours, or until the cheeks are tender.
  • Take the meat out, and leave to one side.  Strain the liquid from the vegetables.  Boil the liquid, once more, until it is a glaze (again, this should be a nice pouring sauce, and not runny).  Once it is the right consistency, add the meat once more, heat through, and serve.

For the Potatoe Puree

  • Potatoes
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Salt

Ensure that you are using potatoes that are good for making mash (and not potatoes that are good for making chips).  Peel enough potatoes for the people you are serving.  When making Potatoe Puree, depending on the size of the potatoes, I normally use about 2 per person, and add another 1 or 2 in for luck.  You generally need more potatoes for making mash, than you do if you were just serving boiled potatoes.  Cover the potatoes with water, add a generous pinch of salt, and bring to the boil.  Cover the potatoes with a lid, and simmer until well cooked.  Once they are well cooked, drain the water, and put the potatoes back over the heat.  Cover, and shake the pan over heat.  You only need to keep them over the heat for a couple of minutes, but this allows you to take away the additional moisture that might still be left from the water you cooked them in, and ensures they are dry and fluffy.  In another pan, melt a large dollop of butter, and a couple of tablespoons of milk. The amount will depend on the quantity; you don’t want too much that you end up with a gloopy mess, but you also don’t want too little, where the potatoes are still dry.  Pass the potatoes through a Potatoe Ricer – this gives a much smoother mixture than using a masher.  Add the melted butter and warm milk, and stir the potatoes until you have a nice smooth consistency.  Add salt during this time, adding a little at a time, until you have the right seasoning.

For the Carrots:

  • Baby carrots
  • Salt
  • Butter

Use the nice medium sized baby carrots, and if you can get the multi-coloured ones, even better!  Thoroughly clean them, and cut off most of the green, leaving just a little on the top.  Bring a large pan of salted water to a rolling boil.  Add the carrots, and cook until they are still just slightly hard.  Drain, and quickly put the carrots into a large bowl of iced water.  This stops the cooking, and ensure they retain their bright colour.  Take them out of the water and place them in a roasting dish. About 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, add a couple of knobs of butter, and a generous dusting of salt, and place them in a pre-heated oven 180C for about 20 minutes, until they are cooked through.

To Serve:

Place a large dollop of the Potatoe Puree on the side of the plate.  Add a beef cheek with some of the sauce, and place 2 or 3 carrots in the centre.  Serve, and enjoy!

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