Trip to Spain - Highlights | Recipe: Slow Cooked Beef cheeks with Pedro Ximinez

One of our absolute favourite destinations we have ever visited is Spain. Steeped in history, Spain is an incredibly beautiful place to visit with plenty of culture and arts to immerse yourself in, but most importantly for foodies like us, the dining scene is incredible. We visited an amazing array of eateries during our visit.

One thing we noticed about Spanish cuisine is how much they embrace good quality extra virgin olive oil, using it liberally to lift and flavour dishes. We love recreating the taste of Spain in Australia using Moro Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Good quality and authentic Spanish ingredients are the key to making meals great, so Moro’s Extra Virgin Olive Oils are a quintessential ingredient for our Spanish recipes. Made from 100% Spanish olive oil,  it delivers an authentic taste you can only find from the Mediterranean. 

Here are some of our recommended spots to dine when in Spain…

In Madrid we loved Ana La Santa which features highest quality products and familiar recipes prepared with a distinctive and very innovative flair. Similarly wonderful is Bosco de Lobos which is hidden in a garden encased by glass - the best way to experience the hustle and bustle of Madrid’s vibrant food scene serenely.

When in Granada, Los Patos is a MUST-VISIT. Regularly described as one of Granada's “destination” restaurants, Los Patos allows diners to embark on a culinary journey through the local flavours of Granada. Think amazingly innovative dishes paired with stunning wines from the region. If a flamenco show and dinner is on your bucket list, then Jardines de Zoraya will keep you entertained and your tastebuds happy too. For epic views over the Alhambra and delightful tapas, Mirador de Morayma is a great choice.

In the gastronomic town of Seville, you can’t really go wrong. However, if you are after a truly sensational dining experience, make sure you visit La Azotea. Locals will tell you it's the best tapas bar in town, making queues common place for a coveted seat at the restaurant or its bar.

The bustling city of Barcelona offers seriously impressive Modern Spanish cuisine. One of these super chic establishments include Negro-Rojo. Located within the central business district of Barcelona, Negro-Rojo combines international and Japanese cuisine in two distinct levels that stand out for their impressive design and culinary offerings. For something more traditional, 1881 per Sagardi boasts a long culinary tradition with cuisine steeped in the Basque Country tradition and slight influences from throughout Spain. The views from their rooftop bar are also unbeatable. If you love the beach then you will fall in love with Gallito. Housed on the underside of the Hotel W beachfront, Gallito is a cosy eatery ideal for enjoying the atmosphere amidst Barcelona's beautiful sandy shores over fine cuisine. Fancy a quick meal whilst shopping in in the vibrant La Ramblas? Luzia is a brasserie which celebrates the concept of a non-stop street grill – fast, delicious, fresh. 

Recipe: Slow Cooked Beef cheeks with Pedro Ximinez served on sweet potato and walnut mash

In Spain we ate some of the most amazing beef cheeks including one at La Azotea. This recipe is inspired by that dish as well as Richard Cornish and Frank Camorra's Movida Rustica “Movida’s Braised Beef Cheek in Pedro Ximenez on Cauliflower Puree”. The recipe feeds 6 very hungry people very comfortably.

Our version is incredibly delicious and the secret ingredient is Moro Primero Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Spain is the home of olive oil,  with Spaniards having spent thousands of years refining the art of making excellent quality olive oil. Moro's Spanish heritage means that best practice is adopted when producing their olive oils so it's easy to recreate that Spanish flavour and flair at home when you use Moro Extra Virgin Olive Oils as the oils boast the authentic taste of Spanish olive oil. For this recipe, the Moro Primero Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the perfect ingredient. This oil is beautifully rich and complex. It is wonderfully full-bodied and fruity with a light peppery and bitter finish which adds flavour and depth to a dish.

Ingredients

6 trimmed beef cheeks
300 ml Moro Primero Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 garlic bulb, halved
1 brown onion, sliced
500 ml Pedro Ximenez Sherry
750 ml red wine
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
3 medium sized peeled sweet potatoes
2 small peeled potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup milk

Method

  1. Heat half the Moro Primero Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Brown the beef cheeks for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden, then remove from the pan.
  2. Add the remaining Moro Primero Extra Virgin Olive Oil, then add the carrot, garlic, onion and saute over high heat for 12 to 15 minutes, or until well browned. Stir in the sherry, wine, bay leaves, thyme, sea salt and 500 ml water. Reduce the heat as low as possible, add the beef cheeks, then cover and cook for 8 hours, or until the cheeks are beginning to fall apart.
  3.  In the meantime cook the walnuts in the milk for 20 minutes on low heat. Boil the sweet potatoes and potatoes until done. When done, mash the sweet potatoes and potatoes in a bowl. Add in the butter. When thoroughly mashed, add in the chopped walnuts and milk stirring them in gently.
  4. The sauce from the beef cheeks should by now be reduced. It if needs further reducing, remove the cheeks from the pan, cover with foil to keep them warm, and simmer the sauce over high heat until nicely reduced. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and return to the pan; gently reheat the cheeks in the sauce if necessary.
  5. Serve the cheeks and their sauce on warm plates with the sweet potato and walnut mash and finish by generously drizzling Moro Primero Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This will make the dish glisten and add aroma and flavour. If you like, you can also garnish the dish with thinly sliced spring onion or radish.

A bit about Moro…

We loved collaborating with Moro to create this stunning dish. Did you know that Australia pours more Moro than any other olive oil? Moro was founded in 1845, by the Moro family. By 1960, one of the brothers, Mauricio Moro, had begun exporting Moro olive oil into Australia with the help of Conga Foods, where olive oil was still considered an exotic ingredient only to be purchased as an expensive “health tonic” in chemists. 

In the late 1970s, Conga Foods purchased the Moro brand globally and continued the Moro family legacy, developing only the best quality Spanish olive oil products while growing the range to include other products such as artisanal Italian vinegars, thereby quickly becoming the leading olive oil and specialty vinegar brand in Australia.

We love that Moro continues to source the best olive oil from Spain, continuing the Moro family’s passion for over 50 years! That’s why they say, "those who  know great olive oil, use Moro"! Find out more about Moro here.