Wow! It’s been a hectic past few weeks and AnotherFoodBlogger now has a new kitchen in which to create some kick ass food and recipes for you guys. Incase you didn’t get it we have moved house. Still living in New Farm in Brisbane but just a new address. I can tell you the past few months have been tough. For those of you who don’t know, aside from recipe developing, blog writing and some private catering, I am also a stay at home dad. Having managed restaurants in Ireland and America and having worked 24hr days in hotels, I can now confirm that being a parent is by far the toughest job I have ever had. I adore my little princess and I get such pleasure from watching her grow and develop but boy it’s tough to get ANYTHING done except test drive every swing & slide in Brisbane on a regular basis. Oh, and what made moving even more fun was our daycare was/is closed for renovations so packing up our 3 bedroom home meant that for every box I filled, another was being emptied by said “princess”. Anyways, due to this I have been off the radar the past while and am glad to be back sitting here writing this post. Yesterday was my birthday so I wanted to post a good meaty dish to celebrate and as a few of you may know if you follow me on instagram, I’m totally in LOVE with beef cheeks. Between this and my ragu recipe we have been eating them on the regular in AnotherFoodBlogger’s house here in Brisbane. Which is perfect as they are certainly more cost effective than eating my usual ribeye steak. Plus they are packed with flavour and the toddler LOVES them too!
There was a time when cuts of meat like oxtail, beef cheeks, pork butt etc were seen as the pour man’s food and it was hard to find in restaurants as everyone was after “fancy” cuts of meat like fillet, tenderloin, NY strip and ribeye. Well, nowadays it’s hard to eat in any good restaurant without seeing rump, cheeks, collar and belly. Does this mean we are being duped out of our hard earned cash? At first, it may seem like that when you compare the cost of a beef cheek to a NY strip BUT the truth is, cuts like these require a much longer cook time and extra “love” to transform them. Don’t get me wrong now, having worked in many restaurants the profit margin is considerably better on rump, belly or cheek but when most good chefs create a menu it’s about balance and some dishes make very little profit so others need to make larger profits to even it all out. What I like the most about using these cuts of meat, aside from the saving on my weekly shopping, is the flavour you get from them. Because they contain (generally) more fat, there is bags of flavour just waiting to be unleashed. The other great thing is, typically when you cook these cuts you don’t just make a tiny amount so there is always left overs that can get turned into some other kick ass dishes. In the case of beef cheeks why not try some sexy tacos with charred corn and spicy chili & lime salsa or a great bowl of pasta.
When making this dish you will see that the majority of the ingredients are simple pantry staples. In this recipe I used polenta as I wanted to do something a little different than typical mash potatoes but you can easily substitute this. Polenta, as you may be aware, is made up of boiled cornmeal and originated in Northern Italy. On it’s own it can be pretty bland and boring so the addition of cheese is what makes this particular one pop. The dish was finished with some kale pesto which adds a nutty, creamy & earthy taste and nice acidity from the lemon juice too.
The pesto and beef cheeks can be both made in advance so if you are trying to impress your guests and have time to have an actual conversation (read glass of wine) then this is a beautiful and incredibly tasty dish to pull out for a dinner party!
Happy Cooking AND Eating!