Big Batch: Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks in Red Wine

Does it get any more Winter than red wine and beef cheeks? We’ve been expecting (and crossing our fingers for) a bit of snow these first few weeks of Winter, and what could be cozier on a snowy Winter’s day than a big batch of beef cheeks slow-cooked in red wine? This is a bit of a cross on the French classic, beef bourguignon, and a traditional beef and vegetable stew. It’s got ALL the vegies, big chunks of melt-in-your-mouth beef cheeks, and lots of red wine. What’s not to love?

a oval cast iron french oven full of slow cooked beef cheeks in red wine with carrots and mushrooms.

What you are going to love about slow cooked beef cheeks in red wine…

It will taste so much better on days 2, 3 & 4 – cook once and eat for days… hello rehashed midweek dinners!

Its a set and forget kind of dinner. Once the prep is done, it’s in the oven for a good few hours of slow-cooking. Bonus… your house will smell AH-MAZ-ING!

This is a batch big enough for 6-8 people. It’s a good one to serve with a few friends around the table on a winters night with a few bottles of pinot noir.

These slow-braised beef cheeks literally melt in your mouth. It’s big, It’s hearty, and you’re going to love it!

What you need to get started

  • Pantry Essentials – olive oil, plain flour, beef stock

  • Roughly a kilo of trimmed beef cheeks. No need to go overboard with the trimming. We’re going to render any fat on them good and proper anyway. If you can’t get your hands on beef cheeks, you could easily substitute for chuck steak, however, when it comes to slow cooking, nothing beats beef cheeks. They are far superior to every other slow-cook cut of beef. Cooked correctly, beef cheeks will literally melt in your mouth. The good news is, while a couple of years ago, I would have to bribe my butcher to get them in for me, now they are readily available in Woolworths and Coles.

  • Vegetables – brown onions, garlic cloves, carrots, brown mushrooms. No need to precisley cut any of the vegetables. Onions get sliced, each carrot cut into 6-8 chunks, and the mushrooms get thrown in whole, unless they are really big then cut in half.

  • Streaky bacon – I generally buy whole bacon rashers. Then cut them in half and use the streaky end for cooking and the eye bacon for a Sunday morning cooked breakfast!

  • Red wine – I used a merlot because it was what I had on hand. You could easily substitute with a pinot noir or cabernet. No need to use the best bottle from your cellar either. Cheaper wines are great for slow cooking and I swear no one will be able to tell whether you cooked with a $45 pinot noir or an $8 cabernet sauvignon!

  • Porcini powder – This stuff is like gold when it comes to slow-cooking. Porcini powder is just ground-up, dried porcini mushrooms. It’s great for adding depth to any stew or soup, or when you want to add a good bit of richness to the gravy. A total pantry essential. It can be found in good food stores like Essential Ingredient in Australia.

  • Herbs and Spices – bay leaves, rosemary, salt & pepper to season

The details

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius.

  2. Coat the beef cheeks in plain flour.

  3. In a cast iron French oven add 2 tbsp oil and seal each beef cheek. It’s very important to seal the meat and not stew. We are redering the fat in the beef cheek which will then break down and make the meat palatable. After sealing each beef cheek, pop them on a plate to rest while the others are rendered.

  4. In the French oven saute the onions in the reamining oil on low heat till translucent. Add the bacon and cook for 2 -3 minutes. Add the garlic. stir through and cook for 30 seconds.

  5. Add the red wine, beef stock, porcini powder, carrots and fresh herbs. Stir to combine. Add the beef cheeks, pop on the lid, and bring the pot to a simmer. 

  6. Once simmering, pop the whole pot into the preheated oven for 2.5 hours.

  7. Remove the pot from the oven, add the mushrooms, give it a stir, and return the stew to the oven for the remaining hour.

  8.  Remove from the oven. By now you should have a beautifully slow-cooked stew with a reduced gravy. If your gravy needs to be reduced further, remove the beef cheeks and simmer the stew on the stovetop until you have the desired consistancy, then re-add the beef cheeks.

  9. Season with sea salt and pepper, then serve! 

Equipment needed to slow cook beef cheeks

Slow-cooked stews are best cooked in a good quality cast iron pot for ultimate cooking conditions and imparting maximum flavour. This big batch, beef in red wine casserole was cooked in my Le Creuset 29cm Oval French oven.

Be sure to let your French oven heat up as opposed to blasting it on a high heat which will only cause damage to your pot. Pop it on low heat and let it heat up. This may take a few minutes, however, it will stop your pot from thermal shock and permanently damaging the enamel. 

What to serve with this beef and red wine stew

A simple creamy mashed potato is always a winner. Want to add some greens? Steamed beans and broccoli are my go-to’s. Buttered green beans are a classic french side.

Want to take the humble mash up a notch? Colcannon is a great option and it’s absolutely delicious! You can find my recipe here

Let’s rehash this and turn this red wine beef stew into a pie for a second day’s dinner, shall we? Pop the stew into a pie dish, top with a layer of puff pastry, and bake until the pastry is golden and flakey. Then serve it with homemade oven-baked chips and some mushy peas.

Can I freeze it for later?

Definitely! Big batch… make a huge batch! Divide into dinner portions and freeze away. This one freezes perfectly and tastes just as good as a just-out-of-the-oven stew. I portion them into meals for 3 (our family size) and pop them into the freezer when completely cool. It’s an easy one to reheat on those cold nights when you just don’t feel like cooking.

Love slow cooking? Here are a few recipes you might like…

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a oval cast iron french oven full of slow cooked beef cheeks in red wine with carrots and mushrooms.

Big Batch: Beef Cheeks in Red Wine

  • Author: Emma Lee
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 people 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: slow-cook
  • Cuisine: French

Description

We’re talking melt-in-your-mouth, slow-cooked beef cheeks, and vegetables in red wine gravy. Serve with lashings of creamy mashed potato, and buttered beans for a delicious dinner party or family dinner.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 + 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 1kg beef cheeks
  • 2 brown onions, sliced
  • 200g streaky bacon, cut into a rough 2cm dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500ml red wine – I used a merlot
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1+1/2 tsp porcini powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 10cm sprig of rosemary
  • 200g brown mushrooms
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper to taste

 


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celcius.
  2. Coat the beef cheeks in plain flour.
  3. In a cast iron French oven add 2 tbsp oil and seal each beef cheek. It’s very important to seal the meat and not stew. We are redering the fat in the beef cheek which will then break down and make the meat palatable. After sealing each beef cheek, pop them on a plate to rest while the others are rendered.
  4. In the French oven saute the onions in the reamining oil on low heat till translucent. Add the bacon and cook for 2 -3 minutes. Add the garlic. stir through and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the red wine, beef stock, porcini powder, carrots and fresh herbs. Stir to combine. Add the beef cheeks, pop on the lid, and bring the pot to a simmer. 
  6. Once simmering, pop the whole pot into the preheated oven for 2.5 hours.
  7. Remove the pot from the oven, add the mushrooms, give it a stir, and return the stew to the oven for the remaining hour.
  8.  Remove from the oven. By now you should have a beautifully slow-cooked stew with a reduced gravy. If your gravy needs to be reduced further, remove the beef cheeks and simmer the stew on the stovetop until you have the desired consistancy, then re-add the beef cheeks.
  9. Season with sea salt and pepper, then serve! 

Notes

This recipe was cooked in a 29cm oval enameled cast iron French Oven.

How to render… Sear the beef on all sides until sealed. This normally takes a few minutes on each side. We are not cooking through the beef cheeks, only locking in all the flavour and they’ll continue cooking for the next few hours.

Using your cast iron cookware… Be sure to let your French oven heat up as opposed to blasting it on a high heat which will only cause damage to your pot. Pop it on low heat and let it heat up. This may take a few minutes, however, it will stop your pot from thermal shock and permanently damaging the enamel. 

Keywords: slow-cook, one-pot, beef, red wine

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