This is not an everyday item in my house. I developed the recipe for Purim (kids were jungle animals, and monkey bread was my half-hearted attempt at a theme), and my husband described it as “garlic knots meets pulled beef,” aka: good. I find that beef cheek is the easiest and best cut to use in any pulled beef application. Not in the mood for the extra steps? Sub 6–8 ounces of diced pastrami for the beef cheek. No one will mind!
In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onion, carrot, and mushrooms until softened.
Season with salt and pepper. Add the cheek and herbs and cover ¾ of the way with water
Cover the pan, leaving space for steam to escape. Bring to a simmer, then lower and cook on low for 3–4 hours or until very tender.
Remove the cheek and shred with a fork. Save the leftover broth for soup, cholent, sauces, or rice. (Can be made up to 3 days ahead.)
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
Mix the spices in a shallow dish.
Prepare a sheet of Gefen Parchment Paper. Cut the dough into 1-inch (2.5-cm) balls and line them up on the paper.
Spray the dough balls liberally with cooking spray or dip each ball in olive oil. Dip each ball in the spice mix, making sure it’s well coated.
Spray a tube pan with cooking spray and lay a layer of dough on the bottom of the pan.
Add a layer of beef cheek.
Add another layer of dough and more beef cheek until all the dough and meat are in the pan.
Bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then flip onto a platter.
Best served warm and dipped into roasted garlic mayo.
I first saw porcini powder used by the food blogger A Jew’s Bouche (@ajewsbouche), who used it in a brisket rub. It’s become a staple in all my spice rubs and adds an amazing level of flavor and complexity. To make it, simply use a spice grinder or food processor to grind dried porcini mushrooms until a powder forms. It will keep in an airtight container in the pantry for 6 months or more. Per A Jew’s Bouche, it can be used in a million ways, including tossed with bread crumbs to top mac and cheese, in a compound butter, mixed with salt in a spice grinder for your own gourmet salt, sprinkled on popcorn, or mixed with starchy pasta water for a quick sauce.