Beef Cheeks Ragu



Beef cheeks in slow cooker with stock and small piece of beef fat from making stock

4 beef cheeks

1 C bone or beef broth

2 C water

½ C red wine

1 stalk celery cut into pieces

1 medium carrot scrubbed or peeled and cut into pieces

8-10 whole peppercorns

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs flat leaf parsley

juice from 1 lemon

I put all the veggies and everything but the liquids into a slow cooker, then place the beef cheeks on top of it all and pour over the liquids.


Shredding the meat

Cook on low for about 8 hours. Remove cheeks and allow to cool so you can touch them. Shred the meat and discard the toughest sinew. Chop into 20mm or 1 inch pieces.


1 x 700g bottle of plain, Organic Passata (Italian red sauce)

1-2 tsp dried oregano

¼ C dry red wine

very small amount of finely grated garlic, about 1/2 of a medium clove

Sauté the garlic in a small amount of olive oil. Deglaze with the red wine. Add the passata and the oregano and allow it all to cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce loses the raw taste. Add the meat, taste for salt, and heat slowly and so that the meat flavours develop with the sauce, about half an hour. (I’m not sure that technically this would be called a ‘ragu’ but it’s close enough for government work and I like how the name sounds!)

Pasta, Eggplant or Mushrooms


Beef Cheeks Ragu over eggplant shards

While you are waiting for the beef cheeks to cool, put a large pan of salted water on to cook the pasta in.  If, like me, you don’t eat pasta, cut some eggplant into longish ‘shards’, place on a baking tray with some olive oil drizzled over, and bake at 180C (350F) for about 25 minutes. OR you could grill some large portabella mushrooms if you prefer. Remove the stems and peel, as they can be rather tough. Top the mushrooms or a pile of eggplant or pasta with the sauce. Top with freshly grated parmigiano. Serve some steamed broccoli on the side.

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