Braised Beef Cheeks with Tagliatelle

Michael Caines shares a comforting, warming meal perfect for any winter day. This rich braised beef ragu pairs perfectly with tagliatelle and a little parsley.

Introduction

Beef cheeks are a hidden gem and are very popular for braising. The meat is found in the cheeks of the animal's head and has a good, deep flavour. This is the sort of slow-cooked meal that is perfect for winter. The braised beef cheeks make a hearty stew that is particularly good served with the saffron tagliatelle. The homemade pasta can absorb the flavours of the rich sauce. 

If I had to work all day and only had the chance to eat one meal, it would be this one - really satisying and comforting, as well as high in protein and carbs, it's a great, sustaining winter warmer. 

Serves 4

Ingredients

750g beef cheeks (2 cheeks)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
160g smoked bacon lardons
100g button onions, peeled
100g button mushrooms, small and whole
1 clove of garlic, crushed
10g plain flour
300ml red wine (e.g. pinot noir)
400ml chicken stock
1 small bouquet garni
chopped fresh parsley
For the pasta:
300g tagliatelle
olive oil
30g unsalted butter

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 100c/gas mark ¼. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a cast-iron braising pot, then add the meat and brown it all over. Remove and place on a plate. Add the lardons to the pot and cook until golden brown, then remove these and put them on the plate with the beef. Now add the button onions and colour them evenly, then add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the red wine and reduce by half. 

Return the beef and lardons to the pot with the chicken stock. Add the bouquet garni, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper, then put the lid on and place in the oven for 8 hours. Once the meat is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to stand.

To finish: Cook the tagliatelle in boiling salted water with a little olive oil, then drain and put back into the pan. Add the butter, season and stir well.

To serve: Serve the tagliatelle in the middle of each bowl and spoon over the braised cheeks. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve. 

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