BEEF CHEEKS – AN AMAZING CUT OF BEEF
Yes, Beef Cheeks! Rich Flavor. Tender beyond belief. And, of all things, lean! They can be trimmed tight, no need for excess fat left on. What makes them tender is the spider web of connective tissues. Through a slow braising process, these connective tissues melt into the meat and the braising liquid. The flavor is extraordinarily, a deep beefy flavor.
The whole “Nose to Tail” food trend has taken off in the restaurant world. You and I, home cooks, aren’t about to buy an entire animal and figure out ways to use every part. But the concept of doing this seems so very right. It was our ancestors that taught us the importance of the animal and its life. Using every part was done for both financial reasons and out of respect to the animal. Today, talented chefs are introducing us to these cuts, creating delicious approachable meals. The beef cheek is a great way to get started at home. It can be used in recipes we are already familiar with – stews and roasts.
Tougher cuts of beef are used for slow cooking stew and roasts. These cuts come from parts of the animal that get exercised the most. Beef cheeks fall into this category, this animal does love to eat! I braised the cheeks in wine, helping to break down those connective tissues, aiding in the tenderizing process. I am used to having to remove a significant amount of fat that forms on top of the liquid. Not with the beef cheeks, it was minimal. No greasy flavor.
I have to say this is now my favorite cool weather meal. So, if you’re willing to try something new, I just know you’ll be amazed by this cut of beef. Spring is coming around the corner, so in the spirit of eating healthier, I served it with mashed cauliflower. The wine sauce that found its way across the plate to my cauliflower made a perfect partnership. You could opt out of the pasta and just serve it over the mashed cauliflower.