Chiminea, Pinot and a Slow Cook

There’s a chill in the air and a smokiness from the first lighting of wood heaters heralding the oncoming colder weather.  After a long, hot Western Australian summer this seasonal change is very welcome.  We light our first chiminea of the season and my husband and I settle in front to enjoy a glass of Pinot along with Angus, the Golden Retriever.

Watching the flames curl and dance around the logs and banksia cones my thoughts turn to beautiful braises and casseroles and their intense, comforting flavours. With the weekend ahead I decide to delve in the back of the cupboard and retrieve my slow cooker for another season of deliciousness.  I have some beef cheeks and, gathering together a few complimentary ingredients, make Beef Cheeks in Balsamic.  Here is the recipe:

Beef Cheeks in Balsamic

1kg Beef Cheeks, trimmed

1 x Onion, diced

3  x Carrots cut into chunks

3 x Parsnips cut into chunks

4 x Garlic Cloves, crushed

500ml Beef Stock

A good glug of good quality balsamic vinegar

Salt & Pepper to taste

Dust the beef cheeks in seasoned flour and caramelise in a pan with two tablespoons of olive oil.  When nicely browned, remove and keep warm and add a little more oil and then add the onion, carrots, parsnips and garlic.  Cook until the vegetables begin to colour but do not let the garlic burn.

Add the beef stock, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to the boil and the sauce will thicken because of the residual flour in the pan from the beef cheeks.  Arrange the beef cheeks in the slow cooker and pour over the vegetables and sauce.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

When cooked the beef cheeks will be falling apart and the vegetables beautifully soft.  Taste for seasoning again before serving with mashed potatoes and a big, bold Shiraz.

Mmmmm……simply superb!

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