Don't bother making this Beef Cheek Ragout if you are looking for a quick meal. I based this ragout loosely on a Maggie Beer recipe – the result was very tender and the flavour profile was interesting – but next time I'd reduce the amount of juniper berries and rosemary. So I've done that for you.
Brown your beef cheeks in some garlic oil on medium heat – put them into the slow cooker. Then fry off some finely diced celery (3 sticks) in the same pan. When they are translucent chuck them into the slow cooker as well and then deglaze the pan with some red wine – I used an Australian shiraz.
Put all this into the slow cooker along with the peel of ½ an orange, ½ tsp of crushed juniper berries, a few bay leaves, a sprig of rosemary (not too big a one), some fresh thyme (if you use dried use only a tiny amount), ½ a star anise, salt and pepper. Also and sliced carrots and parsnip.
I cooked this lot for 6 hours on low – I put a foil layer over the top under the lid which provided a better seal – and reduced the smells. About half way I added a bit more wine, lemon juice and ginger tea. At this stage the beef cheeks looked very unpromising.
Luckily at 6 hours the beef cheeks were meltingly tender. I took some of the liquid from the slow cooker and reduced it in a pot to thicken it up and served the beef with mashed potatoes.