Braised Beef Cheeks with Creamy Parmesan Polenta
Ingredients for the Braised Beef Cheeks:
4 beef cheeks, cleaned and cut into halves
Salt and pepper to season the cheeks before cooking
Olive oil for browning the cheeks and sautéing the vegetables
4 anchovy fillets
8 cloves garlic, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
2 small onions, diced
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
6 sprigs thyme
16 black peppercorns
4 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 bottle red wine (I used a Barolo)
6 cups chicken stock
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1: Clean the beef cheeks of any sinew. Cut each cheek in half. Season well with salt and pepper.
2: Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium high heat and brown cheeks on all sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
3: Add a little more oil if needed and add anchovy, garlic, carrot, onion, celery and leek and sauté until nicely browned.
4: Lower heat to medium. Add thyme and peppercorns, stir well.
5: Add the tomato paste and continue stirring over medium heat for 5 minutes.
6: Slowly pour in the red wine while scraping the delicious browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
7: Cook for 15-20 minutes until the liquid is reduced by half.
8: Return browned beef cheeks to the pot with the wine reduction and veg. Cover with chicken stock and bring to a boil.
9: Once boiling, skim the surface of any foamy muck.
10: Cover the surface with a circle of parchment paper and the Dutch oven’s lid and place in a preheated 300*F oven for 2 1/2 hours until tender and falling apart.
11: Remove from the oven and add balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.
12: Transfer the beef cheeks to a plate, covering with foil to remain warm.
13: Strain the liquid of its vegetables and return the leftover liquid to the pot.
14: Over medium heat, reduce the remaining liquid by 1/3 to 1/2.
15: Remove from heat. Return the beef cheeks to the reduced liquid and cover to reheat while you make the polenta.
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups heavy cream
1 and 1/2 cup yellow polenta
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt, if needed
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for serving
Shaved Parmesan for serving
1: Combine the chicken stock and heavy cream in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil.
2: Reduce heat to low and pour the polenta into the stock and cream mixture slowly, whisking as you pour to thoroughly combine.
3: Whisk constantly while the polenta cooks for about 10 minutes, until the liquid is completely absorbed.
4: Remove from heat and gently stir in the cheese and butter. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.
Mound a large spoonful of polenta in the center of a flat bowl. Top with a piece of the beef cheek and spoon over some of the cooking liquid. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and chopped flat leaf parsley.
Makes 8-10 servings.