These slow cooked pomegranate beef cheeks, paired with silky smooth butternut mash, doused in a reduction of its cooking juices and finished off with fresh pomegranate for freshness – is the perfect winter’s dish – minimum fuss but maximum impact.

Tougher cuts generally mean budget cuts, but thankfully less-expensive cuts of meat can taste just as delicious if prepared correctly. When cooked low and slow, all the connective tissue transforms into the reward of meltingly tender, meaty goodness, with a rich, deep flavour and wonderfully savoury cooking juices. Patience is a virtue with tougher cuts, as they need to be cooked in a slow cooker or in a casserole dish on a low heat in the oven for 6-8 hours, depending on the cut. As the beef cheeks absorb the flavours of braising liquid well, when you cut into the meat, it almost resembles pulled pork/brisket.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 2 beef cheeks, cut in half (often called ox cheeks)
  • 100g plain flour
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 1.5 cups red wine
  • 1.5 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • Glug of extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg and chilli flakes

Method

  1. Pat the beef cheeks dry with kitchen towel, then season with salt and black pepper.
  2. Toss the cheeks in plain flour, then lightly sear in an pan with a glug of oil, on both sides until nicely browned. Remove beef cheeks and place onto a plate, loosely covering with foil to keep warm.
  3. Finely dice the onion, carrot and celery and sauté in a knob of butter on a medium heat for 6-7 minutes.
  4. Place the onion, carrot and celery mixture and with the bay leaves into a slow cooker, followed by the beef cheeks.
  5. Pour the pomegranate juice, molasses and red wine into the slow cooker, turn to a medium setting and pop the lid on for at least six hours. If you don’t have a slow cooker, pop in an oven at 150 degrees C for 4-5 hours.
  6. Approx 45 minutes prior to serving, peel the squash, cut in half, scoop out the seeds (save them and roast later!) and cut into large chunks.
  7. Cook in a pan of boiling salted water for about 30 minutes, until soft. When ready, drain in a colander.
  8. With a masher or a trusty fork, mash the squash with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, the crème fraiche and a good grating of nutmeg, a pinch of chilli flakes, then season with sea salt and black pepper, to taste.
  9. When ready, remove the beef cheeks from the slow cooker/oven, placing them onto a plate, loosely covering with foil to keep warm.
  10. Discard the bay leaves and transfer the liquid into a saucepan, bring to the boil and allow to reduce until it is syrupy. Stir regularly.
  11. Serve the butternut mash with the slow cooked pomegranate beef cheeks and the reduced sauce drizzled on top, finished with some fresh pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!
Customer recipe provided by Beckie, who lives and works in Dorking and first came to The Dorking Butchery as part of a 1-month challenge to source all her food locally and boycott the supermarkets. She is a life-long food loving, waste-hater who writes an awareness-raising food blog, Wonky Parsnips, which aims to re-awaken the way we engage with food.
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