Braised beef cheek tacos

Beef cheeks are brilliant. Not only are the loaded with protein and iron, they're also collagen rich. And they're relatively cheap, making that local grass-fed beef more affordable. Braise these for a few hours and you'll get the most velvety, unctuous, melty meat. 

This makes about 3 servings.

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: Just over 4 hours 


  • Handful fresh sage leaves or 1 T dried sage 
  • 1-2 T Cooking oil (I used coconut)
  • 1 pound beef cheek
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup red wine or sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 cup chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 cups beef or chicken stock


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a hot griddle toast sage leaves. Remove from heat and reserve.
  2. In a Dutch oven or heavy, oven-proof pan heat oil. Season beef with salt and pepper and sear, about 3 minutes each side. Remove from heat.
  3. Add onion and garlic to oven or pan and soften about 5 minutes. Add the cumin seeds and cook until just toasted. Pour in wine, scraping up browned bits. Stir in chipotles and adobo sauce, stock, and sage leaves. Nestle beef back into pan.
  4. Cover pan, place in oven, and leave for about 4 hours. Remove from oven and pull apart cooked beef with forks.

I used this meat for tacos with pickled onions and guacamole. But you could puree the braising ingredients to make a sauce for smothered burritos.

Pictured here are Siete Family Foods' cassava and coconut tortillas, which you can find at some Whole Foods markets.


Adriana Velez