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Slow Cooked Beef Cheek Casserole

by Coinneach MacLeod from The Hebridean Baker: My Scottish Island Kitchen (Bonnier Books)

Photography: Susie Lowe

Support your local butcher! With names like shin, cheek and flank, the cheapest cuts of meat can sound severe and a little intimidating. However, butchers know the worth of these less popular cuts – they often have far more flavour than their expensive counterparts. By ordering the two cheeks, you will have a hearty meal for four. However, these cuts do generally require longer cooking, so take advantage by using them in casseroles – perfect for a cosy weekend dish! As an extra treat, serve this casserole in a hollowed-out sourdough and let all that red wine gravy soak into to the bread.

Ingredients – Serves 4

For the casserole

1 large onion, chopped

4 sticks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

Bunch of fresh thyme, stalks removed

2 carrots, chopped into chunks

2 beef cheeks

400ml red wine

600ml beef stock

1 teaspoon redcurrant jam

Olive oil, for frying

Finishing touches

Fresh sourdough loaf

2 cloves of garlic

1 carrot

Handful of curly kale


Pre-heat the oven to 100°C fan (250°F)

In a large casserole dish, gently fry the onion and celery in olive oil over a low heat until they start to soften. Add the garlic, thyme leaves and the carrots.

Place the beef cheeks in the dish and pour over the red wine. Allow that to get to a bubbling simmer for a couple of minutes before adding the beef stock and redcurrant jam, making sure the cheeks are fully immersed.

Season well and cover with a lid, then place the dish in the oven and slowly braise for 5 to 6 hours, or until incredibly tender.

When you take the dish out of the oven, turn up the heat to 180°C fan (400°F). Slice the top off the sourdough. Pull chunks out of the bread and place them in an oven dish, brushed in olive oil, with a couple of cloves of garlic for 8 to 10 minutes or until they get crispy edges.

Chop up your carrot and add to a pan of boiling water. After 3 minutes, drop in a handful of kale and simmer for another three minutes. Drain and stir into the casserole. Ladle the casserole into to the sourdough loaf and serve along with your chunky croutons.

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