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Cocoa-braised beef cheeks

We highly recommend heading to your local butcher for this recipe! Trying different and more affordable cuts of meat can make for some amazing meals, like these cocoa-braised beef cheeks.

SERVES 4 // COOKING TIME 3 hours 20 min

For the beef cheeks
4 tbsp olive oil
400 g beef cheeks
Salt and pepper
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
½ stalk celery, finely chopped
1 tsp cocoa
2 cups dry red wine
400 g tin Italian chopped tomatoes
For the salad
1 bulb fennel
4 guavas
1 orange, juice and zest
1 lemon, juice and zest
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp chilli flakes

For the beef cheeks
1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in an ovenproof pot until extremely hot.
3. Pat the cheeks dry and season them. Cook in batches, browning all over. Place the cheeks and pan juices in a dish and leave to rest.
4. Heat the remaining olive oil in the same pot. Fry the onion, carrot and celery until softened.
5. Add the cocoa. Gradually add the wine, deglazing the pot.
6. Boil for 10 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by half.
7. Return the beef and the juices to the pot. Add Italian chopped tomatoes. Season.
8. Bring to a simmer, then cover with baking paper and place in the oven. Cook for 3 hours, until the meat is soft to the touch.
For the salad
1. Using a veggie peeler, shave fennel and guavas into strips. Place in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the other ingredients until emulsified. Season.
3. Toss fennel and guava with the dressing just before serving.

Recipe & styling: Chiara Turilli
Photography: Andreas Eiselen //

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