Beef Cheek Chilli

Beef Cheek Chilli

I love spicy food. A big depth of flavour provided by freshly ground spices with warming heat from fiery chillis—there’s nothing better. No one knows the true origin of the classic chilli con carne, yet it has evolved in many contrasting ways encompassing any number of differing ingredients. While most classic recipes call for minced beef, I take a different approach.

Due to a cow’s digestive system, they spend a large proportion of their life chewing. A cow’s cheeks are some of the most used muscles in its body resulting in dense and gelatinous meat. They are incredibly flavoursome and an underrated cut. When cooked low and slow for several hours, the collagens within the muscle breakdown resulting in melt in your mouth, pulled beef.

Back home in the UK, you can find ox cheeks or beef cheeks at most good butchers. I have found them less easy to track down here in Toronto, however, they are available to purchase at Olliffe in midtown who offer delivery within a 20km radius of their store. If you like hot food as much as I do, substitute the red chillis for 1-2 habaneros for a more substantial heat kick. Serve on a bed of rice, tortillas, warm cornbread, or rich mashed potatoes. A hearty dollop of sour cream never goes amiss.

6
5.5h
Serves
6
Prep
30m
Cook
5h
Total
5.5h
Video

Ingredients

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 medium onions

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp ground chipotle

1 tsp oregano

¼ tsp sea salt

Black pepper

5 cloves of garlic

2 red or yellow bell peppers

3-4 red chillis

400ml canned black beans

800ml canned tomatoes

500ml beef stock

1-1.2kg beef cheeks

3-4 anchovy fillets (optional)

1 bunch fresh coriander

Method

  1. Place a large casserole dish on low heat with the oil. Dice the onion and add to the pan with the cumin seeds, ground chipotle, oregano, salt, and a generous grind of black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes until the onions have softened.
  2. While the onions are cooking, chop the bell peppers into strips. Deseed and chop the chillis. Dice the garlic. Add all three to the pot.
  3. Drain and rinse the black beans, then add the beans, tomatoes, and stock to the casserole dish.
  4. Cut the ox/beef cheeks into quarters, then add to the mixture. For extra umami, add the anchovies if using. Bring to simmer, then cook on low heat for 4½-5 hours until meat is completely falling apart. Stir occasionally to prevent the bottom from sticking. Top up with a dash of water if the liquid reduces too much. You want to finish with a thick sauce consistency.
  5. Pull the large pieces of meat apart using two forks into fine strands and mix through the dish. Chop the fresh coriander leaves and mix in. Serve with your preferred side.

Ingredients

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 medium onions

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp ground chipotle

1 tsp oregano

¼ tsp sea salt

Black pepper

5 cloves of garlic

2 red or yellow bell peppers

3-4 red chillis

400ml canned black beans

800ml canned tomatoes

500ml beef stock

1-1.2kg beef cheeks

3-4 anchovy fillets (optional)

1 bunch fresh coriander

Tap for method

Method

  1. Place a large casserole dish on low heat with the oil. Dice the onion and add to the pan with the cumin seeds, ground chipotle, oregano, salt, and a generous grind of black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes until the onions have softened.
  2. While the onions are cooking, chop the bell peppers into strips. Deseed and chop the chillis. Dice the garlic. Add all three to the pot.
  3. Drain and rinse the black beans, then add the beans, tomatoes, and stock to the casserole dish.
  4. Cut the ox/beef cheeks into quarters, then add to the mixture. For extra umami, add the anchovies if using. Bring to simmer, then cook on low heat for 4½-5 hours until meat is completely falling apart. Stir occasionally to prevent the bottom from sticking. Top up with a dash of water if the liquid reduces too much. You want to finish with a thick sauce consistency.
  5. Pull the large pieces of meat apart using two forks into fine strands and mix through the dish. Chop the fresh coriander leaves and mix in. Serve with your preferred side.
by Max Makes Munch
American

Nutrition

Calories
983
Fat
57.8
g
Saturates
21.2
g
Carbs
46.1
g
Sugars
7.5
g
Fibre
11.1
g
Sodium
568
mg
Protein
68.6
g

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