2 beef cheeks
4 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 onion, diced
1/2 bulb of garlic, cut across the middle
1 leek, chopped
4 sprigs thyme
12 black peppercorns
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp celery salt
½ bottle red wine
1 litre chicken stock
1 splash balsamic vinegar
1 splash Worcestershire sauce
500g Waxy Potatoes (red skins or new), peeled and diced (approx 2cm cubes)
200g plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Trim the beef cheeks and remove as much sinew as possible, cut each cheek in half and season well with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy-based pan and brown the cheeks on all sides. Remove and set aside.
Add the vegetables, garlic, celery salt and a little extra oil if necessary. Stir around until they caramelise, add the thyme and peppercorns and mix everything together. When all the vegetables are golden, add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.
Pour in the red wine and stir, scraping up all the sticky bits from the bottom of the pan, then cook until the liquid is reduced and you have a sticky sauce – about 12-14 minutes.
Put the beef cheeks back in the pan and cover with the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, skim the surface and cover with a circle of greaseproof paper. Simmer over a low heat for 1 hour 30 minutes – 2 hours 30 minutes or until the meat is soft and almost falling apart. If you prefer, cook the beef in the oven at 150C/130C fan/gas 2 for 2 hours 30 minutes or until tender.
Whilst the Beef is cooking you can prepare your Gnocchi, boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes, or until tender and drain (leave to dry for a few minutes). Mash them well, or use a potatoe ricer, this must be done well to ensure a smooth texture for your gnocchi. Sprinkle in salt and pepper and the flour.
Use a wooden spoon (or your hands) to bring the mixture together, then knead the mixture gently for a couple of minutes, roll into sausages 1cm thick and cut into 2cm long pieces. At this point they can be cooked, or placed onto a plate with cling film streted around it – this prevents the gnocchi sticking.
The gnocchi will only need a couple of minutes to cook, so in preparation bring a pan to boil, and simmer, add the gnocchi, the gnocchi is done when it rises to the surface. remove and put into/onto your plate.
Once the cheeks are cooked add a splash each of balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Carve the cheeks into smaller portions if necessary. Place on top of your gnocchi – and enjoy!