Braised beef cheeks with baby carrots and cavolo nero


  • Serves 6 people

  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
  • 6 beef cheeks (about 280gm each), trimmed
  • 2 golden shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 1 clove
  • 200 ml dry white wine
  • 200 ml port
  • 1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken stock
  • 2 bunches baby carrots, trimmed
  • 120 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bunches cavolo nero, trimmed
  • To serve: soft polenta (optional)
01   Preheat oven to 160C. Heat half the olive oil in a frying pan over high heat, add cheeks, season to taste and cook, turning once, until browned (1-2 minutes each side). Set aside.
02   Heat remaining oil in a large casserole over high heat, add vegetables and garlic and stir occasionally until tender (7-10 minutes). Add herbs and spices, deglaze with wine and port, reduce until almost evaporated (5-6 minutes). Add stock, bring to the simmer, add cheeks, cover and roast until very tender (3-4 hours), then remove cheeks with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Reduce braising liquid over medium-high heat to a sauce consistency (25-35 minutes), set aside and keep warm.
03   Meanwhile, bring carrots, 80gm butter and 1 litre water to the simmer in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until carrots are tender (10-15 minutes), then remove with a slotted spoon. Keep warm. Reduce cooking liquid until light caramel (15-20 minutes). Just before serving, toss through carrots and season to taste.
04   Meanwhile, combine cavolo nero and 50ml water in a saucepan over low heat, season to taste, cover and cook until wilted (2-3 minutes), then toss through remaining butter. Serve beef cheeks, sauce, carrots and cavolo nero hot with polenta.
This recipe is from the June 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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