Last week I was at our local Riverside butcher, who incidentally only stocks grass fed beef (important for the Paleo diet). He was telling me that he was going to be stocking beef cheeks on an ongoing basis. I was pretty excited about this and immediately put my hand up for some.
I did a test batch last week, and after tweaking it a bit, I did another yesterday. The recipe got the tick of approval from the family so I thought I would share. This is particularly good as comfort food on those Autumn days that are getting longer and colder down here in Tasmania.
I made this for 5 people with a bit left over. We are fairly big eaters, so you will need to adjust measurements for your family accordingly. I don’t have a slow cooker, so I cooked it in the oven on 150 C (300 F) for about 6 hours.
6 beef cheeks (trimmed)
3 tablespoons fish sauce (Red Boat is the best Fish Sauce available without chemicals added, and is Paleo. Available from my online store http://www.paleoprovidore.com )
4-5cm ginger finely grated.
2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice
1 stalk lemongrass
An onion (or the greens of about 4 spring onions if low FODMAP I have also been using the whites in large enough pieces to fish out)
2 cloves of garlic (I leave them whole and remove them before serving as I eat low FODMAP and use garlic infused olive oil)
1 litre beef stock (I’ve also used low salt chicken stock and it still tastes yummy). Homemade stock is best as it has lower salt and can cater for dietary requirements.
1 tablespoon good quality Oyster Sauce
2 teaspoons Szechuan pepper (crush if whole)
1 400g tin diced tomatoes (or you could use some about a cup or so of pasta sauce, without the meat, if you have any left)
3 star anise
1 stick cinnamon
4 (or so) carrots chopped into 1 -2 cm slices (you could add other vegetables as well, but they will go mushy unless you add them close to the end of cooking time)
Garlic infused olive oil/permitted oil.
Cut beef cheeks into a large dice and put in a large bowl.
Add the five spice, fish sauce and ginger.
Bruise the lemongrass with the back of your knife, cut into a few pieces and add to the beef.
Mix ingredients together and leave for half an hour if possible, otherwise as long as you can.
Heat a large frypan, wok or saucepan on medium high heat and add olive oil.
Lightly brown the meat in batches putting more olive oil in the pan as required. Put the browned meat into the casserole dish.
When all meat is brown, add some more oil and then cook your garlic and onion/spring onions. When cooked, add the stock, oyster sauce, Szechuan Pepper, tomato, star anise, cinnamon and carrots. Bring to the boil, then pour over the meat. Put the casserole dish with its lid on, into the oven. I usually cook it for about 4 hours with the lid on and then 2 or more with the lid off as the liquid then reduces and creates a thick, yummy sauce and saves thickening it with cornflour.
I served the dish with steamed vegetables and some mashed potato (I know, that is totally not paleo, but it tastes so good!).