Friday, 23 March 2012

Curried Beef Cheeks

Organising Appetite events calls for many, many meetings and meetings call for food (and wine). This week it was my turn to host and, as ever, I wanted to cook something a bit special.

Given our meeting was after work, I knew I wouldn't have any time to cook on the night so I needed something that would be ok to make ahead and then simply heat up for serving. Initially I thought about this Tuscan Braised Beef which is truly delicious, but as soon as I started talking beef cheeks on Twitter, I was offered a Jamaican curry recipe by fellow foodie Jools Cyprien.  

Curried Beef Cheeks

First of all I had to make the Jamaican curry powder and although there were a lot of ingredients, I was lucky to have most of them in (although I do admit to using black mustard seeds instead of yellow ones and I couldn't get any fenugreek seeds so I used the ground stuff).

3 teaspoons ground turmeric
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
2  teaspoons cayenne or any Red Chilli Powder
3 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
3 teaspoons cumin seeds
2″ Stick of Cinnamon
4 Cardamom Pods
4 teaspoons Whole black pepper
2 teaspoons star anise or aniseed
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon whole allspice

All this needed grinding down to a powder and, not really fancying a good couple of hours at the pestle and mortar or the electric pepper mill (which can only hold a small quantity of anything at any one time), I finally invested in a coffee grinder. If you don't have one, I suggest you invest £16 or so to buy one. 

Curry powder down, it was time to get on with the curry itself.

2kg mutton or other meat such as Ox cheeks, chopped into bite size pieces
2 x Large Onions finally diced
3-4 cloves of garlic crushed
1 x small thumb sized piece of ginger finely sliced
3-4 spring onions finely sliced
1 - 2 teaspoons of all spice 
A few sprigs of thyme leaves chopped 
2-3 tbsp of the curry powder (see above)
1 can of coconut milk
250ml chicken stock
1 further tbsp of the curry powder (see above)
1 scotch bonnet chilli 
Salt pepper to taste 

Sprig of thyme

I combined the meat with the diced onions, garlic, ginger, spring onions, all spice, thyme leaves and 3 tbsp of curry powder and left it to marinade in the fridge for 24 hours.

The next day I heated up a large pan over a medium heat, added a good glug of olive oil and the other tbsp of curry powder to gently fry it until dark. I then added the meat along with all the spices. Once the meat was browned off I added the coconut milk and stock, followed by the whole scotch bonnet and the sprig of thyme.

I then brought everything up to the boil, turned it down to a gentle simmer and left it cooking away for about 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally until the meat was beautifully tender. Just before serving, I removed the scotch bonnet and the thyme

I wanted to serve it up some rice and peas and Jools pointed me in the direction of this recipe which worked well. Everyone enjoyed; it was packed full of flavour, but really wasn't all that hot, despite the scotch bonnet!  

It's one I'll be doing again... and next time I'll stick some chunks of potato and carrot in for the last 40 minutes or so of cooking.

Cheers Jools!


  1. I was planning on cooking a curry tomorrow. This may well be the one... looks and sounds delicious!

  2. I was lucky enough to be one of the people eating this - it was delicious!!

    It's a shame that you took the chilli out though Clare - it would have been like a game of Russian Roulette with a twist!!

  3. Dave - I hope you enjoy!

    Ade - I think I will leave the chilli in next time. It did start to break up into the curry as it cooked, so I only took about half of it out in the end. Given the curry wasn't all that hot, I'm sure leaving it whole will be ok...