Gradually, gradually I hope I’m getting you all used to cooking with secondary cuts of meat…yes? The secondary cuts are the ones that can often be discarded because they’re not as fashionable. Which is a waste. The dumb thing is, these secondary cuts – chuck, shanks, cheeks, offal, shin, blade, brisket – taste infinity better than the primary cuts if they’re simply cooked a little differently.
Dumber still, these different cooking methods (slow and long) make the meat much better for you (the slow temperatures don’t destroy as many of the enzymes).Make a difference and vote with your dollar: buy secondary and learn to cook differently!
I’ve been playing with a few different cuts…gradually moving us all via this series of slow-cooked meals (you can check out my lamb shanks with lemon and cinnamon here and my beef with coconut curry here) to cooking with offal. We’re not there yet. But stay tuned.
Today, it’s beef cheeks. These are the facial cheeks of cows (not the bum cheeks!) and are very lean and tough if not cooked nice and slow and languidly.
Some quick pointers before we start…
* You can use a heavy-based casserole pot instead.
No need to buy a special electric slow cooker if you don’t want. You can use a Le Creuset casserole pot or dutch oven on the stove top or in the oven instead. You generally have to add liquid if you do (see below) and reduce cooking time from 8 hours (on low) or 4 hours (on high) to 1-2 hours.
* It doesn’t have to be a big one.
I use a 4.5L one. It’s big enough to make 6-8 portions.
* Halve the liquid if you’re using a slow cooker
If you’re converting a recipe from a standard (oven or stove-top) recipe, halve the amount of juicy stuff and do things