These slow cooker beef cheeks are gently and slowly braised in red wine, shallots and mushrooms for a delicious meal.
Great to feed a family, entertaining friends and for those busy nights when you need to get ahead by putting dinner in the slow cooker in the morning.
Just imagine what the house will smell like when you come home starving!
Such a tasty, tender and comforting meal for the colder months.
Beef cheeks, sometimes referred to as ox cheeks are the facial cheeks of the animal.
Traditionally, they were a budget cut of meat, but have recently become more popular as chefs use them more in restaurants.
They are now more of an expensive cut than they used to be. This may be because supermarkets, where many people buy their meat, do not stock it as a cut and it is only available from certain butchers or online.
The cheeks are a muscle that is really well used in chewing, which makes this cut extremely tough.
However, as with most tough cuts, long slow braised beef cheeks are tender and full of the flavours that you don't get with a quick roasted piece of topside.
It's well worth seeking them out!
Although in this recipe I've opted to keep the braised ox cheeks whole, so that they can be sliced, they also make great stews when the meat is cut into chunks.
Beef cheeks in red wine make a great family meal as the wine is cooked for a long time and the alcohol removed. Of course, you can replace the volume of red wine with extra beef stock if you prefer.
❤️ Why you will love this recipe
- Simple recipe and preparation.
- Ideal for busy days when you need dinner to be ready.
- Delicious and tender meat.
- Family friendly, winter warmer and entertaining idea.
- Vary the vegetables to suit your own tastes.
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- Beef cheeks - I buy mine online at Swaledale butchers in Yorkshire. Typically, one cheek will weigh 400-500 grams or a pound and feed 2 people. I've used 2 in this recipe.
- Shallots - I prefer to use the long banana shallots as they are slightly easier to peel than the smaller round ones. They are also mild and sweet.
- Mushrooms - small button mushrooms for ease as they just need a quick wipe with kitchen towel.
- Stock - beef stock. Homemade or from a cube. My preference is to use Bovril as it gives a rich meaty taste.
- Worcester sauce - this adds a slight spicy piquancy to the gravy and always goes so well in beef dishes.
- Salt - cooking or kosher salt.
- Pepper - freshly ground black pepper.
- Wine - red wine that you would normally drink. I used a Côtes du Rhône.
- Garlic - garlic cloves as opposed to garlic salt or granules as it is a totally different taste,.
- Oil - vegetable, sunflower or olive oil for searing the meat.
- Butter - for frying the vegetables. The mushrooms act as little sponges and soak up plenty of buttery flavours.
- Thyme - fresh thyme stalks if possible. Dried thyme can be quite woody.
- Bay leaves - dried bay leaves are best as they can be overpwoering in a dish when they are fresh, especially when cooked for a long time.
The recipe card with ingredient quantities and detailed instructions can be found at the bottom of the post.
- 3.5 litre /5.3 pint capacity slow cooker
- chopping board
- sharp knife
- large skillet or frying pan
- kitchen string
Set the slow cooker to high to preheat.
Peel the garlic and shallots.
Cut the garlic into slices and quarter the shallots lengthways.
Tie the thyme sprigs together with a piece of string so that they are easy to retrieve from the gravy before serving.
💭 Top Tip
- If you don't have fresh thyme you can normally buy a bouquet garni in supermarkets or online. This is a mixture of dried herbs already tied together or in a small muslin pouch. Typically, these contain bay leaves, thyme and parsley, but may include other herbs.
Take the meat out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you start to cook, so that it comes to room temperature.
Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper and season with the salt and pepper.
There's a lot to be said about the timing for salting steak before it is cooked.
- If it is salted an hour before cooking the moisture is drawn out by the salt, but is then reabsorbed, so the meat stays moist while it is cooking.
- If the meat is salted 15 minutes before cooking, for example, because you are preparing something at the same time, then the moisture escapes from the meat and it will be dry when cooked.
- To avoid doubt, generously salt the meat just before it goes in the pan, under the grill, (broiler), or on the grill.
Put the oil in a frying pan over a medium to high heat.
Sear the meat on all sides for about a minute each side.
- If you ever wondered if searing beef makes it more tender, the answer is much deeper. It's not about locking juices in or making it tender as the cooking process will take care of that. The main purpose of searing protein, such as beef, over a high heat with only a little oil, is to produce the Maillard effect. This is the chemical reaction that occurs between the proteins, or amino acids in meat and fish and the natural sugars. This is what gives the meat, colour, flavour and makes it irresistable!
Set the meat aside and add the butter over a medium heat.
Add the shallots and mushrooms to the pan.
Cook for 2 minutes, the add the garlic for 1 minute.
Cooking the garlic without liquid for more than a minute can make it burn.
Put the vegetables in the bottom of the slow cooker and put the meat on top.
Tuck the bay leaves and thyme around the meat.
Add the red wine to the pan and scrape up any bits on the bottom, then add the stock and Worcester sauce.
Bring to a boil and pour over the meat.
⏲️ Slow Cooking Time
Cook on high for 8 hours until tender.
At this point use a spoon to remove any fat that has come to the surface and check the consistency of the gravy.
If you prefer a thicker sauce combine 2 tablespoons of cornflour, (cornstarch), with 2 tablespoons of water and stir into the gravy.
Leave for 30 minutes.
The seslow cooker beef cheeks in red wine are ready to serve.
I prefer to cut the meat into thick slices and serve simply with mashed potato.
🥗 Side Dishes
Try some of these side dishes with the braised beef cheeks in red wine.
- Honey Roast Chantenay Carrots
- Leeks in White Sauce
- Honey Roast Carrots and Parsnips
- Fried Cabbage with Bacon
- Cavolo Nero Kale
- Easy Roast Potatoes
- Roast Savoy Cabbage
- Whole Baked Cauliflower Cheese
- Roasted Green Beans and Carrots
- Roasted Long Stem Broccoli
- Roasted Swede Chips
- Shallots - use onions sliced lengthways.
- Button mushrooms - use small mushrooms cut into quarters.
- Worcester sauce - use balsamic vinegar or mushroom ketchup.
- Fresh thyme - substitute with a teaspoon of dried thyme or mixed herbs.
- Vegetables - use chopped carrots, potatoes, swede, parsnips or celeriac.
- Refrigerator - cool, cover and keep for up to 3 days.
- Freezer - pack into containers and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
- To reheat - una saucepan on the hob over a medium heat or in a covered dish in the oven at 180 C / 350 F / 160 FAN / Gas 4.
🍱 Prepare in Advance
- Prepare the vegetables and sear the meat the night before then put all of the ingredients into the slow cooker.
- Slow cooker beef cheeks also taste even better served the next day, as the flavours have a chance to develop further.
More beef recipes
- Bone in Ribeye with Stilton Sauce
- Spider Steak with Tarragon Butter
- Slow Cooker Brisket
- Flanken Short Ribs
- Corned Beef Fritters
- Roast Rib of Beef
- Picanha Beef
- Beef Olives
- Savoury Mince
- Jacob's Ladder Beef
- Flanken Short Ribs
Slow Cooker Beef Cheeks
- 3.5 litre /5.3 pint capacity slow cooker
- Chopping board
- Sharp knife
- large skillet or frying pan
- kitchen string
- 1 kg beef cheeks
- 6 shallots
- 200 g mushrooms button
- 200 ml beef stock
- 2 tablespoon Worcester Sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 100 ml red wine
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Set the slow cooker to high to preheat.
- Peel the garlic and shallots. Cut the garlic into slices and quarter the shallots lengthways.
- Tie the thyme sprigs together with a piece of string.
- Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper and season with the salt and pepper.
- Put the oil in a frying pan over a medium to high heat. Sear the meat on all sides for about a minute each side.
- Set the meat aside and add the butter over a medium heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, the add the garlic for 1 minute.
- Put the vegetables in the bottom of the slow cooker and put the meat on top. Tuck the bay leaves and thyme around the meat.
- Add the red wine to the pan and scrape up any bits on the bottom, then add the stock and Worcester sauce. Bring to a boil and pour over the meat.
- Cook on high for 8 hours until tender.
- If you prefer a thicker sauce combine 2 tablespoons of cornflour, (cornstarch), with 2 tablespoons of water and stir into the gravy.
- Leave for 30 minutes
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article
More beef, lamb and venison recipes
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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I can only imagine how wonderful the house smells while this fabulous meal is cooking.
I love soup season for recipes just like this one! This turned out perfectly hearty, bold and delicious; easily, a new fall favorite!
I really love beef cooked in red wine. It gives it such a nice flavor. This dish looks delicious!
I love all the different flavors and textures in this recipe. The vegetables and spices really bring out the flavor of the meat.
This beef dish turned out amazing! The flavors do come together at the end and definitely very aromatic! My hubby is asking for me to make it again lol! Thanks for the recipe
This was amazing. The meat just fell apart and totally melted in my mouth. Amazing!
I've never had beef cheeks but this recipe has all the delicious ingredients I love. I'm going to see if our local butcher has a cut because this would make a perfect Sunday dinner.
So cozy and flavourful. Perfect for winter evenings.
They look absolutely delightful. I am sure they make for a fantastic meal.