Beef Cheek Ragu

Pre Covid one could not get beef cheeks for love nor money. Restaurant chefs grabbed them and they became a luxury item. But now, there seems to be easier availability. And the price is budget friendly. I made a beef cheek ragu reminiscent of what we have had in Italy.

Beef Cheek Ragu
Beef Cheek Ragu
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Budgeting for a holiday usually takes a lot of planning. We start with the airline tickets, and end with car hire. In between that we have accommodation expenses and spending money. For the trip we are on right now it was slightly different. The travel insurance had been paid when we booked our original tickets in 2020. The flight was covered by our refund from British Airways. And any extra costs came from Air Miles we had accumulated. Given the timing, we could stay with friends in London. This saved us 4 nights’ accommodation over the Jubilee weekend. Our second segment of the trip was paid for in 2019! We were meant to stay on a working wine and olive farm in Italy. RCI transferred this for us to 4 nights in an hotel. The third part of our trip changed completely from what was planned for last year.

Today’s inspirational recipe from Lavender and Lime ♥ Beef Cheek Ragu ♥ #LavenderAndLime Share on X

Instead of us staying in a cottage in Abingdon, we are staying with my cousins. This was only made possible as her brother, his wife and children were not coming from New Jersey. All of these small savings helped a lot, as our one budgeted expense had changed dramatically. Instead of us paying a fifth of the cost, we are now paying half. So, what we gained on the roundabouts, we lost on the swings. The rest of our ‘savings’ will be spent on shopping. I came home with very little in 2019 as I had no suitcase space for myself. This trip I have ensured that there is a lot of extra weight. I am not sure when we will go back to the UK, and I do want to ensure I have all that I want. And of course, all that I need.

Beef Cheek Ragu

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Beef Cheek Ragu

This recipe needs overnight marinating and a day of cooking, but the time is worth it
Recipe Category: Italian, Meat
Makes enough for: 4 people
All Rights Reserved: An original recipe from Lavender and Lime


for the marinade

  • 500 g beef cheeks
  • 500 mls red wine
  • 15 mls red or black fruit jam
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 baby leek, trimmed and thickly sliced
  • 1 quill cinnamon

for the beef cheeks

  • 10 mls fructose
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 30 mls olive oil
  • 500 mls rich beef stock

for the ragu

  • 15 mls olive oil
  • 1 shallot, peeled, trimmed and finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2.5 mls dried thyme
  • 1.25 mls fructose


for the marinade

  • Place the beef cheeks, wine, jam, thyme, rosemary, garlic, shallot, carrot, leek and cinnamon into a large ziploc bag
  • Rub the marinade into the beef cheeks and place into the fridge overnight
  • Remove the bag from the fridge and remove the beef cheeks, placing them onto a wire rack over a container
  • Leave to come to come up room temperature
  • Strain the marinade through a chinoi, into a sauce pan
  • Tip the vegetables into a roasting pan and set aside

for the beef cheeks

  • Add the fructose to the marinade and stir to combine
  • Place onto a medium temperature and leave to simmer until reduced by half, then set aside
  • When the beef is nearly at room temperature, preheat the oven to 200° Celsius
  • Place the vegetables into the oven and cook for 15 minutes
  • While you do that, pat the beef cheeks dry and season generously
  • Place the oil into a large frying pan and heat over a medium to high temperature
  • Brown the beef cheeks and set aside
  • Remove the vegetables from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150° Celsius
  • Place the browned beef cheeks in a single layer over the vegetables
  • Pour in the reduced marinade and beef stock so that it covers the meat
  • Cover with tin foil so that the foil touches the meat
  • Place into the oven and cook for 3 hours
  • Remove from the oven and leave covered to cool slightly
  • Remove the meat, strain the liquid and set aside and discard the vegetables

for the ragu

  • Place the oil into a large, lidded frying pan and heat over a medium temperature
  • Add the shallot and reduce the temperature slightly
  • Sauté until soft then add the garlic
  • Cook until fragrant then add the carrot, chopped tomatoes, thyme and fructose
  • Stir to combine then season generously
  • Increase the temperature and cook until the liquid has evaporated
  • Skim the fat off the beef cheek liquid
  • Add the liquid and the beef cheeks to the frying pan and gently stir to combine
  • Place the lid onto the frying pan, reduce the temperature slightly and leave to simmer for an hour
  • Remove the lid, break the meat up using a wooden spoon and leave to reduce until the sauce is thick
  • Serve with pappardelle or any long pasta of your choice
Take a look at what was previously posted on Lavender and Lime on June 10:

Dave and I are in England to see friends and family. I won’t be replying to comments or reading blog posts until the 17th of June. You can follow our trip by taking a look at our holiday blog.

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7 thoughts on “Beef Cheek Ragu

  1. We always start with airline tix too, sadly, I haven’t flown in 5 years and before that it was 15 years. Just too expensive! Tix that were $150 are well over $500 now. Multiple that times 6 and flying just isn’t an option for families anymore. Sad because my 13 year old has never experienced a plane and doubt she will before she gets married if inflation continues as its been. But your trip to London looks amazing and I can live vicariously through you for the time being!

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