Braising is a lovely winter way to cook. It begins with searing the meat, adding complementary ingredients and liquids, covering then slowly cooking, either on the top of the stove or in the oven. The heat, time and moisture helps break down the meat's tough connective tissues and therefore it is a great way to cook cheaper cuts.The cooked meat should be falling-apart tender.
The quality of what you add defines the end dish so, by using a beautiful beef stock, you will get a "silk purse from a pig's ear" result.
1 Trim the beef cheeks and cut into chunky strips. Allow 150g untrimmed weight per person. Sear these in some oil and set aside.
2 In the same pan, sweat off some diced carrots, celery and onions.
3 When softened, dust with unsweetened cocoa, mix this around and then add some red wine.
4 Boil this together, then add beef stock to make a soupy base.
5 Arrange the seared beef cheeks in a roasting dish.
6 Cover them with the veges, wine and stock liquid. Add some drained, canned tomatoes, mashing these into the liquid. Season well, cover with tin foil and braise in a moderate oven until the meat is tender.
7 Scatter with lots of chopped parsley to serve.