Cheeky Monkey (but not monkey, thank God)

Meaty goodness | January 22, 2013 | By

It’s been so long since I’ve posted that initially I forgot what I was supposed to post about. I cooked something a while ago, and knew I had transferred the photos, but then I went on vacation (Mickey/Minnieville), came back, finally managed to stay awake past nine, opened my photos, and saw…

A hunk of meat. Even that didn’t do it for me.  I thought to myself, “Well, I know it must have been some kind of unconventional animal part …”

IMG_2862-001What are we thinking.  Belly?  Neck?  Maybe a different animal, conventional part.  Horse?  Beagle?

And then my brain kicked in.  Cheeks.  And not the ass kind, the face kind.  Although I’m sure ass cheeks are quite tasty but named something slightly less descriptive.

I had decided to grab the cheeks (ha!) when I saw them not just because they were strange and therefore blogarific, but also because my husband had daringly ordered them at a restaurant recently and he found them fatty.  I was convinced the chef hadn’t known how to prepare them properly and that I would be able to outdo him.  Game on.

I flipped through recipes and learned that most people seemed to braise their cheeks, or “fry lightly and then stew it slowly with the lid on.”  In red wine.  I also learned from my Twitter friend @madball911 (yes, you can laugh at my using the word “friend” as related to Twitter, as my husband does) that I’d have to make sure to trim off a lot of fat to reduce the jellylike consistency in the result. So I trimmed and snipped fatty bits for ages,

IMG_2863-001browned all sides of the results in a pot with hot oil, and then followed this recipe  from Epicurious:

Braised Beef Cheeks

  4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  4 (12-oz) beef cheeks, trimmed of excess fat

  1 medium onion, finely chopped

  1 medium carrot, finely chopped

  1/2 celery rib, finely chopped

  1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

  2 cups red wine (preferably a dry Lambrusco or Chianti)

  1 (28- to 32-oz) can whole tomatoes including juice, chopped (3 cups)

  1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  1 teaspoon black pepper

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Then I pulled the meat into chunks and scraped off anything that looked gelatinous.  I was on ultra-hypersensitive slime alert, determined to win a chef challenge against a masterchef who didn’t know I existed … and who wasn’t anything close to a masterchef.  But I was going to win, GOD AS MY WITNESS.  I didn’t tell Phil he was eating cheeks again, because he would have complained if he knew he was trying them for a second time.

And it worked!

IMG_2868I watched him chew away, ready for him to squeal, “Is this CHEEKS?  Ugh!” but he didn’t.  He cleaned his plate  My plate however…

Results:  Cheeks may be trendy (the restaurant where we had them was on Ossington, in the coolio district) but chewing on a cheek just ain’t hip.  The fatty jelly is inescapable.  I snipped before, I scraped after, and still, I couldn’t finish my piece of meat.  I’m starting to get really pessimistic about non-traditional cuts of meat.  Maybe it’s time to move on to organs.  Rating: 3 Gags.  I won the battle against the chef, but the cheeks beat me by more than a pinch.  Gross.


  1. Leave a Reply

    Ann Allchin
    January 22, 2013

    Apologies for the italics! Stupid WordPress (sometimes)

  2. Leave a Reply

    January 22, 2013

    I have never tried beef cheeks before, it kind of scares me lol

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      January 22, 2013

      And well it should! But many people seem to like it, so maybe one day I’ll understand the attraction. Let me know if you ever try it!

  3. Leave a Reply

    January 23, 2013

    Hmmm. I think ass cheeks would be better!!!

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      January 24, 2013

      Probably. Neither is a good visual. Closer and closer to vegetarian…

  4. Leave a Reply

    Jackie Dale
    January 25, 2013

    What if you also thinly sliced it? I believe we have had beef cheeks in a taco and it is so thinly sliced that it wasn’t chewy…then again, delicious fresh toppings in a corn tortilla tend to disguise anything!

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      January 25, 2013

      Good idea! Almost anything in a taco tastes good. 🙂

  5. Leave a Reply

    Joanna @ Midwestern Bite
    January 25, 2013

    It literally *just* dawned on me that your husband eats a lot of weird stuff too. Mine would be suspicious at every meal, pretty sure 😉

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      January 25, 2013

      Oh yeah, he eats it all. It’s very entertaining not telling him it’s something strange and waiting for him to react. He’s figured me out though. Once he told friends, “don’t worry, if the camera’s not out she’s not blogging it and you’re safe.” 🙂

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