A truly underrated, inexpensive cut of meat that becomes as soft as butter if treated respectfully. Unfortunately it’s becoming a bit “cheffy”, that said remembering that days of cheap shanks before they became the must have gastropub food and the price was soon reflected. Oh dear, popularity is a crime to the wallet! Portion size should be 250g per person, in my opinion it’s way too much. This will serve us twice.
You can’t usually just wander into a butcher, and certainly not into a supermarket, expecting to find them. Order a day or so in advance. I’m cooking this on the low slow cooker setting for 5 hours then gently reheating to serve the following day. Often with casseroles and suchlike the flavours are so improved after a day and it just takes a little forethought, we’re worth it (how corny was that?)
Two beef cheeks, please get the butcher to trim them for you. Season then sear in butter until well browned. Transfer to a plate. Gently sauté finely chopped onion, garlic, carrot and celery until softened. Add a few sprigs of thyme and a couple of bay leaves.
Add 300ml of good red wine (I’ve used chianti) and the same of beef stock. Then a heaped tsp of Dijon mustard. Simmer for a few minutes then pour everything into the slow cooker. Go away and leave it alone for as long as you like, well no longer than 6 hours or it’d be mush! Before serving either chunk or pull the meat apart, reduce the sauce to the consistency you want. I actually like to add a spoon of redcurrant jelly when finishing the sauce (you could use a little honey I guess?)