Beef cheek and ale pie with chocolate
- December 2015
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 55 min, oven time 4 hours
Pop-up extraordinaire Jimmy Garcia shares his decadent beef cheek and ale pie recipe that comes with a hint of dark chocolate to give a rich, glossy depth.
- 28.1g (11.3g saturated)
- 21.6g (8.7g sugars)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 British beef cheeks (about 450g each), sinew removed, cut into 2cm chunks
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 celery stick, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 250ml ale (medium/golden)
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 500ml fresh beef stock
- 10g dark chocolate
- 15cm x 25cm rectangle puff pastry (about 150g)
- 1 medium free-range egg, beaten
- Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/ gas 3. Heat the oil in a large, lidded flameproof casserole, season with salt and pepper and sear the beef all over on a high heat until browned (around 3 minutes). Put on a plate using a slotted spoon.
- Lower the heat and add the onion, celery and garlic, adding a little more oil if necessary. Gently cook for 8-10 minutes until softened. Remove from the pan and add to the plate with the meat. Finally, add the carrots and cook for 6 minutes, stirring often, then remove to the plate with the meat and other veg.
- With the pan still over the heat, add the ale to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon while it bubbles away.
- Return the meat, its resting juices and all the veg to the casserole. Add the thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, 200ml cold water and the stock, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with the lid and cook in the oven for around 31⁄2 hours or until the beef is falling-apart tender. Remove the herbs and discard. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/ 180°C fan/ gas 6.
- Strain the cooking liquid into a small pan. Skim off the fat with a tablespoon (discard) and bring the liquid to the boil. Simmer until reduced by half, then stir in the chocolate and season to taste. Add the reduced liquid back to the meat, season well, then transfer to a 1 litre pie dish.
- Cut the puff pastry to fit the top of the casserole dish and lay it over the top. Cut a couple of 2cm slits in the middle of the pastry, brush the top with the beaten egg and bake for 30 minutes or until the puff pastry rises and is golden brown. Serve with mash and greens, if you like.
Make the beef stew up to 3 days in advance, then heat to boiling in a saucepan before continuing with step 6. Freeze the stew for up to 3 months in a sealed plastic container.
Beef cheek is a great cut that you can get from good butchers, although you may have to ask in advance. If it’s not available, use beef shin.
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