Beef cheeks and hummus

  • 4
  • 4 hours 50 minutes plus 24 hours for soaking the chickpeas
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This beautiful dish of beef cheeks with hummus looks impressive but is secretly very little work. The combination of hummus and beef - inspired by the lamb or beef mince topping often found on hummus in Israel - is delicious, and simple to put together. Plus, once the meat and vegetables and meat are browned, it's pretty much just a matter of waiting. Beef cheeks need to be cooked low and slow, but they are well worth the wait and make for an extremely comforting, wintery evening meal.

This recipe is taken from Oren: A Personal Collection of Recipes and Stories from Tel Aviv by Oded Oren (Hardie Grant, £26) Photography: Benjamin McMahon

First published in 2022

Oded says: "This dish is such a crowd pleaser. Beef cheek has a lot of unique qualities; it’s lean, but there’s a layer of fat within the meat that melts when you cook it, which makes it extra flavourful and special. Hummus is sometimes served with ground lamb or beef in Israel, so I took inspiration from that, but when I put the beef cheeks and hummus together, it became something else entirely. Hummus was the accompaniment, not the other way around. It is very simple even though it takes a little time, and it’s very rewarding, as the meat becomes extremely tender and delicious.

Also, don’t be tempted to cut corners with the hummus here – it’s worth it to follow every step, just as I’ve laid out. You might think using tinned chickpeas is quicker, but you won’t get the same result. Try to choose smaller chickpeas if you can; they are more suitable for hummus and give a creamier finish. You really do need a food processor for this one, and it will be working hard."




Beef Cheeks




Heat a large, heavy-based ovenproof pan with a drizzle of oil over a high heat

  • vegetable oil, for cooking

Season the meat generously with salt and pepper on all sides


When the pan starts to smoke, add the meat in batches (do not overcrowd the pan as the cheeks won’t seal properly) and brown on all sides


Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Add a drizzle more oil, then add the vegetables to the pan and cook until over a medium heat until caramelised at the edges – this can take 20–25 minutes, so be patient


Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3


Add the tomato purée and red wine to the vegetables in the pan and cook until the wine has reduced by half


Return the beef cheeks to the pan, add the bay leaves, garlic and cover with stock


Bring to the boil and cover tightly with foil and cook in the oven for 2.5 –3 hours. The best way to check the meat is done is to take one cheek out onto a plate and to taste it – it should be really soft, but not falling apart


For the hummus, rinse the chickpeas for a few minutes, then drain and place in a stockpot with enough water to cover. Add the bicarbonate of soda, bring to the boil and simmer for about 2 hours, or until the chickpeas are soft enough to yield easily when pinched

  • 600g of dried chickpeas, soaked in plenty of water for 24 hours
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Drain the chickpeas, saving 125 ml of the cooking liquid


Leave the chickpeas to cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor and blitz for 3–4 minutes. Add the cooking liquid and blitz for a further 2 minutes. Add the salt, lemon juice and tahini and blitz for another 2 minutes. Store in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 3 days


Once it's ready, remove the meat from the pan and keep covered in a warm place


Pass the stock through a fine sieve into a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Reduce the stock by simmering it for a few minutes until reduced by two-thirds


Strain and serve the cheeks with the sauce and 2 tbsp hummus per person

First published in 2022

Oded Oren is an Israeli-born chef who, having worked in a number of Tel Aviv's most renowned restaurants including the acclaimed Turkiz, moved to London and in 2018 opened his own Middle Eastern restaurant Oren.

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