Beef Cheek Chilli

Cook time 3 hours
Servings 4

This is not your average chilli con carne made with minced meat and a packet of spice mix. This version is next-level delicious and uses beef cheeks, which are now readily available, and a tasty blend of spices. Beef cheeks are the ultimate cut of meat for slow cooking as they stay incredibly moist and gelatinous. They’re also a great carrier of flavour, so are perfect for the spices I use in the sauce.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 beef cheeks (about 1kg), sinew removed, halved

Salt & pepper

1 onion, diced

1 red capsicum, deseeded and diced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

3 coriander stalks and roots finely chopped

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 chipotle chilli in adobo sauce, finely chopped

+ 2 tablespoons adobo sauce

2 tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 x (400g) can kidney beans, drained & rinsed

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar


For the salsa

2 corn cobs, husks and silks removed

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 long red chilli, finely chopped

a pinch of salt flakes

Coriander leaves, roughly chopped

plain yoghurt or sour cream, to serve

Steamed brown rice, to serve

Beef Cheek Chilli

This is not your average chilli con carne made with minced meat and a packet of spice mix. This version is next-level delicious and uses beef cheeks, which are now readily available, and a tasty blend of spices. Beef cheeks are the ultimate cut of meat for slow cooking as they stay incredibly moist and gelatinous. They’re also a great carrier of flavour, so are perfect for the spices I use in the sauce.

Method

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Heat half the olive oil in a flameproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Season the beef cheeks with salt and pepper and sear for 1–2 minutes on each side until browned. Remove from the dish. Add another tablespoon of oil, then add the onion, capsicum, garlic, finely chopped coriander stalks and roots and season with salt. Turn the heat down to medium and cook, stirring regularly, for 8–10 minutes until the vegetables are softened and lightly caramelised. Add the spices and oregano and cook for a further 1 minute before adding the chipotle and adobo sauce. Stir in the tomato and cook for 5 minutes until it breaks down.

Return the beef cheeks to the pan and add the kidney beans and 500 ml (2 cups) of water. Place a cartouche (a piece of baking paper cut to fit the dish) on top, then cover with the lid. Transfer to the oven and braise for 2–2 1/2 hours until the beef cheeks are tender.

Remove the dish from the oven and shred the beef cheeks with two forks before returning them to the sauce along with a splash of vinegar.

To make the salsa, preheat the oven grill. Brush the remaining oil over the corn and cook, turning regularly, for 15–20 minutes until lightly charred all over. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Alternatively, if you have a gas stove, cook directly on the gas hob, turning regularly until charred all over. Cut the kernels off the cobs and place them in a bowl, then mix in the remaining salsa ingredients and the roughly chopped coriander leaves.

Serve the beef cheek chilli with a dollop of yoghurt or sour cream and the salsa, with steamed brown rice alongside.

Slow Cooker Method:

Follow to step 2, then transfer the vegetable mixture to the slow cooker. Add the beef cheeks and kidney beans and 1 cup (250 ml) of water. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 8 hours, or until the beef is tender and the sauce is thick and rich.

Follow steps 4, 5 and 6.