Beef cheeks the french bistro version.

Discussion in 'Nose to Tail' started by moikel, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Winter arrives early in Sydney 19 degrees today thats celcius! So 66f  down to 12c so 53f overnight.Locals break out the woollens & overcoats Swedish backpackers still in shorts.[​IMG]

    Anyway that means its time to bust out the popular winter dishes . Lamb shanks, ox tail,veal shanks & beef cheeks.

    Hardest working muscle on the cow ,got to drive that constant chewing.Tough but tasty. Butcher has sold 2 boxes this week already maybe 20kg.

    Long slow braise ,red wine,little onions,celery,carrot,bacon.herbs,orange peel ,cloves,beef stock. 4  hours in the oven. 

    Photos coming.
  2. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yay! Beef cheeks!

    This is a cut of beef I haven't been able to get a hold of here. But I'd love to try must be amazingly delicious in a braise.

    I'm looking forward to the recipe and pics!!  The orange peel sounds intriguing.
  3. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Its a" daube" recipe.I sort of built my own version off a 2 different recipes from a cookbook Simple French Cuisine  from Provence & Languedoc. by Jenny Baker. One for lamb & the other for wild boar! Not rocket science usual suspects on the ingredient list.

    Beef cheeks only came on our radar screens in recent times.I assume before that they were either minced or exported.

    Lovely rich beef flavour. I would normally marinate them overnight in red wine & bits but I am going to shortcut it.I need to eat it tonight.

    Daubes seem to vary depending on the meat & season.Some use white wine,black or green olives,some have a pigs foot thrown in the beef versions.I just think of them as a casserole.Great way to eat cheaper cuts.
  4. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  5. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    OK this is how it goes.Best description in french would be daube de taureau . Mine is sort of southern french.

    Normally I would marinate beef in a bottle of red wine,with garlic,herbs,carrots overnight but dont have time.

    Fried my own bacon(diced) in some EVO,removed it.Then browned cheeks,seasoned with salt ,black pepper. Took cheeks out put in chopped carrot,celery,small brown onions .I studded 4 onions with a clove. Fried that for 5 minutes. Then about 6 cloves of garlic diced.Then put everything back in pan with thinly peeled orange rind. Added about 6 glasses of dry red wine out of the box & one glass of the good stuff leftover from last night. Also put in 600mls beef stock.

    I then took a piece of pigskin,trimmed some fat off it,then put in ,thyme,oregano,sage,rosemary & a cinnamon stick rolled in up & tied it up. In that goes. 

    Then its in the oven on lowish for 4 to 5 hours.

    I am sure there are many versions of this daube that use chuck or blade steak I just like beef cheeks[​IMG]

    I have opened a bottle of durif. A big red wine that matches big red meat dishes. I you killed the animal yourself in hand to hand combat then cooked it over an open fire this is the wine for you.17.5% alcohol on the label ,made near where I grew up. Its in the decanter now its so big you can hear it breathing[​IMG]
  6. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think the orange peel is a southern french thing,same deal the cloves & cinnamon. They would use end bit off parma ham or pancetta but I had bacon handy. I have heard this called bullfighters stew because its made with the same breed of bull they use in Spain for bullfighting. There is a very similiar Spanish dish that Hemingway used to eat during his time in Spain according to a TV  show I saw.Not a fan of bull fighting more a rodeo type myself.
  7. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

     Ready to go after 4 hours.Meat so soft you can cut it with a spoon.I will stove top it for a bit to reduce sauce.
    snorkelinggirl likes this.
  8. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This was a hell of a meal! Haven't cooked it since last winter. If you had to put your finger on it,its the orange ,cinnamon & clove that gives it a nuance. Its not just a beef in red wine dish. Its about regionality .It just feels like its own deal,it is what it is,a french/spanish border country bistro dish.Not fine dining,fancy  smancy just big bold flavours & very nose to tail.

    Thanks for looking.MICK
  9. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks delicious, and I'm fascinated by the mulled wine flavors that you have going on in there.

    And the pig skin bouquet garni is sheer genius. I love that idea. Did you unwrap the bouquet garni and eat the pig skin after braising it?

    Whenever I make pork ragu I like to make a pig skin cotenne with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese. I roll it up, tie it, sear it, and then braise it along with the pork ragu. It comes out soft, unctuous, and slightly chewy. A couple of small slices to garnish the plate puts the ragu over the top.

    Thanks for a great and beautiful post!

  10. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I dont eat the pig to but stuff catches up with you[​IMG].It is a great flavour profile,those bits & pieces change it up from your basic red wine braise. This is my go to beef cheek recipe but it will work with other cuts,chuck or blade. Its got this regional French vibe that I  just love,that SouthWest France almost Spanish thing going on.

    I chop the left overs & make pot pie.

    Its that hearty village kitchen style that gets overlooked because its now all foams & garnishes.Do the people watching cooking shows think that French farmhouse kitchens or little town bistro's are doing dainty food at at 30E & up a plate? Some local wanders in at lunchtime & shells out $50 . No they eat this,soup to start,cheese to finish  1/2 litre red wine & live to a 100[​IMG]

    Glad you liked it. It was a great meal would have been better if there was 4 foot of snow outside ,little rich, but what can you do.
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    That's one I could eat! I don't think the local Butcher even saves Cheeks. I have watched the the Butcher hang the skinned head for the Inspector to review. The Cheeks twitch quite awhile after slaughter...Kind of weird, would always freak out a few of my students...[​IMG]...JJ
  12. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    That looks great, Moikel!  Never tried any beef cheeks either.  I don't know where I could even get any.

  13. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

    Mick - That looks wonderful. Beef cheeks, prepared in a manner as you have done, are outstanding. I've made them a number of times using an adaptation of Richard Olney's recipe for Daube a la Provencale from his similarly titled book "Simple French Food". The cheeks come out unbelievably tender, silky rich and unctuous, with flavor that's over the top. Another one of those grand meals with a humble origin.

    From this thread, and others of yours, you obviously have the "Head to Tail" cookery thing going pretty well. If you want to push the boundaries just a little further, you should consider making a big pot of Rabbit Head Ragu. See the tutorial here >
  14. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Mick as usual you have an odd but great looking dish! I've never seen beef cheeks here. Halibut cheeks, salmon cheeks, yes but never beef cheeks!
  15. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    They were unheard of here then they turned up on a few menus in the city a few years back. The taste did the rest. I find that those harder working muscles have more flavour,shin,tail & brisket.Its just about working out how to cook them. Cheek is dense,compact with a line of collagen? in the middle.I could only eat one.You hardly needed a knife. Sort of dish that you can set & forget in a low oven. Its a bit of a " blue plate special" I think thats the expression isn't it? 

    I have no idea what happened before they were discovered here,probably ground.We used to process our own steers when I was a kid but never saved cheeks.

    I have eaten halibut cheeks in Vancouver,very tasty.
  16. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I like simple french food,that village, country style cooking. A daube is likely to be on the price fix menu,if its friday its beef cheeks, sort of thing.

    I have heard of rabbit head ragu in Italian & Portuguese kitchens here but I wont be able to sell it to my partner "the butchers daughter".So far she has taken goat,lamb hearts,beef cheeks & ox tail in her stride but rabbit heads will be a bridge to far[​IMG]
  17. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thats cut crossways in an attempt to show how dense it is.I cut it again,then added bunched of fried button mushrooms, slurp of red wine reheated it & it will become pot pie for sunday night dinner.
  18. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That's definitely one strong and worked muscle. Cheeks must just get throw in with the trim for ground beef over here. I've sent an email to the farmer I get my beef from, and asked if he can try and get some cheeks cut next time he has animals butchered.  I'd love to give them a try.
  19. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Mick.. I just ran across this fabulous meal thread in my search for beef cheek smokes. I know its the toughest of tough muscles.. and really needs a long braising to tender the heck out of it... but.... I like from texas. .. what if... I do a menu similar to this... but smoke cheeks injected with some good red..onion..garlice.. tyme etc infused wine...... smoke on some slow heat smoke (something very subtle. . Live olive wood or avocado. .. just for that kick... ) then finish in a crock or even the drip pan juices slow and low.. I can get beef cheeeks cheao cheap cheap.... something else I wanna try to smoke. I do barbacoa tacos all the time.. with cheeks. same slow cook method... just alot of Chili's instead of herbs and. Veggies.. you think the time is worth it in whatever of my smokers. .. or ... just stick to your great cuisine above?.. just trying to fit in better with you and clarissa ;) hehhe...
  20. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Mike,

    I had an exchange with Mick and Chef Jimmy J on this topic on some thread or other, and there was talk about a combination smoke-braise. Say, smoking for a couple of hours, then finishing up low-and-slow in a crockpot or braising dish with some liquid would probably work really well on some of these tougher collagen-rich cuts like cheeks, shanks, or oxtail.  I was going to do that with oxtail sometime soon.  Chef JJ also said it would work if you use some tricks like a water or au jus pan in the smoker to keep the humidity up while smoking low-and-slow.  I'd point you to that thread exchange, but I can't remember where it was.  I'm sure Mick will be along later to give you a better answer. [​IMG]

    Love the way you think!!! 


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