Beef cheeks and other off-cuts - please give me your recipes for winter
May 14, 2014 2:34 AM   Subscribe

Winter here and I've dusted off my slow-cooker. What are your favourite recipes for the inexpensive cuts of beef that are well suited to long, slow, low-heat cooking? Bonus Mefi-miles* for minimising the fat content. I tend to cook big batches on the weekend, freeze portions and microwave as needed of an weekday evening. *loyalty points, or favourites I guess

I use an electric slow-cooker and not my oven. I don't mind a reasonable amount of prep, but I am a big fan of the "chop it up, throw it in, turn it on and walk away for a day or so method."

I have no allergies, and access to good butchers who will chop off any bits I want + a good supermarket butcher who seems anxious to please as well.

I already make a mean Beef Ghoulash, Stroganoff, Beef and Mushroom um, Thing, and various iterations of Indian Curries. I'd like your secret hometown/state/national dishes or your family secrets please.

I can get prime beef cheeks for about AU$1 a kilo right now.

(If I can possibly sneak a sub-question in here: your fave Vegetarian slow-cooker recipes will be welcome too. Ssshh).
posted by evil_esto to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Carnitas! Traditionally made with pork, but you can use beef instead.

I grew up eating a lot of beef brisket made in the slow cooker. A quick Googling tells me that the cut may or may not be slightly different in Australia.
posted by neushoorn at 3:23 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

I find beef shin (aka shank) has a lovely flavour and texture when slow-cooked. I don't follow any fixed recipe myself, but here's one a cursory search turned up.
posted by misteraitch at 3:24 AM on May 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

- Belgian style Beef and Beer Carbonade served with Brussel Sprouts and Potato Gratin or just potato mash. (any cheap Chuck Steak will be fine). You need a good dark Belgian beer for the braising liquid though and a little bacon really helps.

- Lamb or Mutton Shoulders - slow roasted for 4-5 hours at 140-160C - can be a bit fatty though. too many possiblities for seasonings. Quince & "Moroccan" spices, White wine, Lemon & Garlic, Sherry & Mushroom, etc

- Stuffed Lamb Hearts are good. - I braised some recently in a chicken stock. stuffed with red-wine soaked bread chunks.

- Cured / Smoked Ham Hocks are really handy and cheap. Pea and Ham Soup / Snert (dutch soup with smoked sausages). I also did a really tasty Ham Hock and Mustard Terrine.

- In the Silver Spoon is a recipe for Beef, Carrots, Brandy and a little garlic - use lots of carrots - this is really good as a stew. maybe a little thyme and nutmeg towards the end with any cheap beef cut / brisket or just a stew. this can be served with tagliatelle or some pasta - or just potatoes and some greens on the side.

- Oh I made a really tasty Lambs Tongue dish from the St Johns Cook book. I think it was lambs Tongue, Swede / yellow Turnips, Kale and White wine basically.

- Speaking of Tongues. Beef Tongue is time consuming but cheap and can be really tasty. Especially with some Beetroot or a strong root vegetable.

- Chuck Beef stew and Horseradish dumplings. fresh horseradish grated into the dumpling mixture. standard beef and ale sort of stew to go with it.

- Boeuf Bourguignon is a classic for a cheap cut. takes a while but its worth it.
posted by mary8nne at 3:25 AM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Beef cheeks are for amazing barbacoa. To die for. However, it is not low fat. Really not low fat.
posted by freshwater at 5:37 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Beef cheeks are great. Just chuck them in the cooker with carrots, potatoes, celery root, whatever you've got. Wine, stock, beer, and liquid you've got. It would be very hard not to get good results with a nice long low and slow braise.
posted by colin_l at 6:53 AM on May 14, 2014

I don't use the crock pot myself, but I do lots of braises or sous vide cooks of beef. Brisket or chuck are classic cuts for braising and both are relatively low in fat. Short ribs are unbelievably tasty, but the opposite of low fat.
posted by Lame_username at 7:30 AM on May 14, 2014

(Good fat content is what makes things freeze well. Just sayin')
posted by vignettist at 7:35 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Chili con carne.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:55 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Have you tried tongue (lengua) yet?

Slow cook (low) overnight with a bay leaf; its ready when you can pierce it with a fork. Remove the skin, cube it, and fry it up on a pan with some of the juice. Eat with the same ingredients you would use for asada tacos/burritos. You can use the leftover juice as soup stock.

Seconding the barbacoa cheek suggestion!
posted by MansRiot at 10:57 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm finding the slow cooker is not nearly as good for beef cheek type cuts as oven-slow cooking - it might end up tender but without the caramelisation or the reduction that makes beef cheeks amazing. My recipe, stolen shamelessly, is mirepoix sautéed then blended with a tin of tomatoes and a tin of wine/stock, slow cooked for hours.

(Where are you getting cheeks for that price? Please tell me!)
posted by geek anachronism at 5:44 PM on May 14, 2014

This Movida beef cheek recipe is very good.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 7:36 PM on May 14, 2014

Mmm... thanks everyone. That Barbacoa looks interesting - I've never followed a recipe calling for instant espresso, and limes, cumin, honey etc. I have to try it.

geek anachronism: Woolies at Gasworks had them reduced to clear and I swooped :-) They are usually not much more tbh.
posted by evil_esto at 1:48 AM on May 15, 2014

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