NOT JUST COCONUT BRAISED ASIAN BEEF CHEEKS
It’s Father’s Day this Sunday, which means it’s time to spoil your dad. As tempting as I am sure it is to go and buy one of those novelty mugs with ‘The Greatest Dad On Earth’ emblazoned proudly on it, how about mixing things up and cooking your dad a one pot wonder feast, using the greatest meat on earth, Australian beef, of course.
You know what they say, ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’. This may be the very reason I have a ring on my finger today! Well, hopefully that’s not the only reason, but think about how much “stuff” your dad already has, cooking something for him is sure to please and I promise you that this recipe will not disappoint. Sidenote: I actually recipe tested this dish on my dad and his comments were “bloody beautiful, don’t change a thing”. This is coming from a guy who encouraged me whilst I was on Masterchef by saying, “just cook the best damn tucker you’ve ever cooked in your life”. Oh dad, bless you!
My dad used to be a beef cattle farmer in Gippsland and has ingrained in us kids the importance of supporting Australian farmers, respect for our environment, the animals we raise and produce we grow. I always try to buy the best quality ingredients that I can, which to me means buying locally raised and produced Australian Beef. Beef cheeks used to be hard to come buy, but with the rising popularity in secondary cuts like cheeks, they are now easier to find. It is such a tender and delicious cut when slowly cooked. If you haven’t come across them before at the supermarket, ask your friendly local butcher to track some down for you.
I used to cook beef cheeks in an Asian style master stock with lots of soy sauce which became really rich and almost too vegemite-y when reduced. So I decided to change things up and try a slow braise in coconut water with some Asian aromatics like lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime and star anise… I must say that the result is a lot better. It’s lighter but still incredibly flavoursome and really respects the beautiful flavour of the beef cheeks. I like to serve this with cauliflower rice, but I must admit, my dad would prefer plain old white rice and considering it’s Father’s Day, I’ll let him have it his way.
I really hope that you enjoy cooking this recipe as much as I have creating it. Dani x
Coconut Braised Asian Beef Cheeks
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
1- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
5 beef cheeks, trimmed
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
5cm piece ginger or galangal, peeled, roughly chopped
1250mls coconut water
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, roughly chopped
8 kaffir lime leaves
1 bunch coriander roots and stalk only, washed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
5 star anise
1 tablespoon tamarind puree
¼ cup coconut sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
HOW YOU MAKE IT
Take a large stockpot and place over medium heat, add one tablespoon of coconut oil and when hot add three of the beef cheeks, or more, but just be careful not to overcrowd the pot, as it will make caramelising the beef cheeks difficult. When beef cheeks are golden on one side, turn over and caramelise the other side. When nice and golden on each side, remove cheeks from pot and set aside. Repeat process with remaining beef cheeks adding a little more coconut oil if needed.
Turn down heat to low, add a teaspoon of coconut oil if needed, then add in ginger and garlic, cook for two minutes stirring occasionally until fragrant and softened. Add the coconut water to deglaze the pan, scraping the base of pan with a spatula, ensuring all the flavour from the caramelised beef is added to the stock.
Turn heat to medium-high and add in lemongrass, 6 kaffir lime leaves, coriander root, black peppercorns, star anise, tamarind, coconut sugar and fish sauce and bring stock to simmering point. Add beef cheeks back to the pan. Bring to a simmer then turn down heat to low and allow beef cheeks to cook for 2.5 hours, until softened and meat almost falling apart. If required, top up the stock with a little more coconut or plain water if it seems like it’s reducing too quickly.
After 2.5 hours, turn off heat and strain stock from beef cheeks reserving the liquid. Pick off any remaining spices or ingredients from beef cheeks that might be stuck. Pop the stock and cheeks back into a pot then add in mushrooms and green beans and allow to simmer on low for a further 15 – 20 minutes or so until the vegetables are softened.
I like to dish this up with plenty of cauliflower rice, fresh coriander and finely chopped kaffir lime leaf to garnish. Beef cheeks are perfectly portioned to serve one per person, make sure to cover the cheek with a good amount of reduced stock that makes a lovely sauce and add the vegetables.
Ask your butcher to trim the beef cheeks for you so that they are ready to cook when you get home.
Mix up the vegetables that you serve the beef cheeks with – carrots, Asian greens and baby corn go well with this recipe too.
Choose a brand of coconut water that doesn’t have added sugar and is not from a concentrate.