Today the recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group are Beef Cheek Daube with Carrots. Dorie uses a somewhat “forgotten cut”, beef cheeks, in her rich, dark version of the French classic. For this fabulous recipe you cook the beef cheeks in a dark and rich red wine and beef stock to make it meltingly tender, then serve alongside mashed potatoes, pasta, or, as in my case, homemade Herbed Spätzle (for the recipe please click here).
Beef cheeks can be a little difficult to find. Once you have managed to order them and brought them home, you have to trim any excess fat or sinew from the meat and cut into chunks. Two cheeks should be enough for four people. Dorie´s recipe calls for browning the meat in hot fat in a casserole. Do this in batches. Heat a flameproof casserole dish, add the vegetable oil and brown the beef cheeks all over, then remove from the dish and set aside. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat, add a bit more oil, sweat down some finely diced carrots, onions and bacon strips and cook for about ten minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Add flour and toast it. Deglaze the casserole with a good red wine and some (maybe) homemade beef broth. Return the beef to the dish, add more beef beef stock and bring up to a boil, then cook in the oven for two hours or until the beef is very tender. The slightest prod with the tines of a fork should have it collapsing into tender meaty strands. Savoury bitter chocolate that you add at the end to the sauce, transforms this slow cooked beef dish into a gourmet experience
Serve the Beef Cheek Daube piled on top of mashed potatoes, alongside pasta or stir it into pasta and be ready to pledge not to use minced beef again because it also makes a staggeringly good and achingly rich melt-in-your-mouth fork-tender Ragù.
To see, how my fellow Doristas mastered this French classic, please click here.