Beef cheeks braised with chocolate

Beef cheeks braised with chocolate

Dig In!
Mark Roper

The slow-cooked beef cheeks are rich and melt in your mouth. Serve them on a bed of the cauliflower puree with the green beans on the side. The cooking time can vary a lot, so check your meat every 30 minutes. You want the meat to be shreddable, but still holding its shape.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 beef cheeks, sinew trimmed
2 large brown onions, cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 carrots, cut into small chunks
125ml red wine vinegar
125ml port
1.25 litres beef stock
200g green beans, trimmed
1 square dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids

Cauliflower puree

Quantity Ingredient
30g butter
2 eschalots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cauliflower, very thinly sliced
60ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons pouring cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (or 170°C for a fan-forced oven).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a deep flameproof casserole over high heat. Season the beef cheeks with salt and pepper, add them to the pan in batches and cook until golden on both sides, about 5–6 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and cook for 4–5 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for a further 2–3 minutes. Increase the heat to high again, add the vinegar and cook for 2–3 minutes, then add the port. Cook to reduce the liquid for a further 2-3 minutes, return the beef cheeks to the pan and add enough beef stock to cover. Bring to the boil, cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 1/2–4 hours or until the cheeks are able to be pulled apart with a fork, but still hold their shape.
  3. Meanwhile, for the cauliflower puree, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium–high heat. Add the eschalots and sweat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat for a further minute. Add the cauliflower and vegetable stock, stir and cover, then cook for 10–12 minutes or until very tender. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cream and blitz with a hand-held blender until you have a fine puree. Check for seasoning and set aside.
  4. Steam the beans over a large saucepan of simmering water or until just tender. Remove the beef from the pan and strain the liquid into another saucepan over high heat. Reserve the carrots from the sieve. Reduce the liquid until slightly thickened, for about 15 minutes, then stir in the chocolate until melted and season with salt. Return the carrots to the sauce. Dip the cheeks in the sauce before serving with the beans and cauliflower puree (and the carrots if you like).
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