An oldie but a goodie! This recipe hails from MoVida Bar de Tapas restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney, from the cookbook MoVida: Spanish Culinary Adventures.
It’s a rainy autumn morning, current temperature in Sydney is 11.9 degrees C. I know by northern hemisphere standards that’s positively balmy – but for Sydney it’s distinctly chilly!
So hence the need to revisit this utterly delicious slow cooked beef recipe, made even more delicious by the addition of Pedro Ximinez sherry, that beautiful sweet and caramel tasting liquor. A casserole perfect for a chilly night.
I cooked the beef cheeks in the oven rather than on the stove top as the original recipe suggests. The temperature needs to be low and the cooking time long. This is slow cooking at its best!
1.5 kg beef cheeks
125 mls olive oil
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 whole garlic bulb, halved
1 brown onion, sliced
500 mls Pedro Ximenez sherry
500 mls red wine
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C. Trim the beef cheeks to neaten them up and remove any sinew and silver skin. Season well.
Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy-based baking dish over high heat. Brown the beef cheeks for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden, then remove from the pan.
Add the remaining olive oil, then add the carrot, garlic and onion and sauté over high heat for 12-15 minutes, or until well browned. Stir in the sherry, wine, bay leaves, thyme, sea salt and 500 mls water.
Reduce the heat and add the beef cheeks. Cover and place in the oven to cook for 3-4 hours, or until the cheeks are beginning to fall apart. You really need to check the cheeks after 3 hours and continue to check until you’re sure they are really cooked.
The sauce from the beef cheeks should by now be reduced and glaze-like. If it needs further reducing, remove the cheeks from the baking dish, cover with foil to keep them warm and simmer the sauce over high heat on the stove top until nicely reduced. Gently reheat the cheeks in the sauce if necessary.
Serve the beef cheeks with pasta, rice, polenta or mash. Anything to soak up that delicious sauce.