"Generally people think that beef cheeks are a winter dish, but I have to say, I love them all year round. This is an easy recipe, but it takes a little time as you need to marinate the cheeks overnight. It's really worth it though, to get those deep, earthy flavours. I strongly suggest that you use a good-quality wine as it makes such a difference to the flavour. For extra bite and texture, I sometimes like to add some toasted flaked almonds on top, to finish it off." - José Pizarro.
1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) beef cheeks, cut into large chunks
1 bottle of Rioja
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 bay leaf
Few sprigs of thyme
3 garlic cloves, peeled
10 black peppercorns
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200 ml (7 fl oz) fresh beef stock
1 cauliflower, broken into florets
500 ml (17 fl oz) full-fat (whole) milk
50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
Sea salt and white pepper
Marinate the beef with all the ingredients except for the oil, seasoning and stock, and chill in the fridge overnight. The next day, drain the beef and vegetables, reserving the wine, and set aside.
Heat a good layer of oil in a large pan, season the beef with salt and black pepper and fry in batches until browned all over.
Transfer to a casserole dish. Discard most of the oil from the pan, then add in the vegetables and fry for 15 minutes until quite tender. Tip into the casserole dish with the beef. Pour in the reserved wine and top up with enough stock to cover.
Put the lid on, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 2½–3 hours until really tender and falling apart.
Put the florets into a pan and cover with the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until tender. Drain, reserving the milk. Use a hand blender and whiz with 50–100 ml (2–3½ fl oz) of the reserved milk and the butter until smooth and glossy. Season with salt and white pepper. Serve the beef on a good dollop of cauliflower purée, and top with some of the red wine sauce.