That was exactly what we thought when we tasted these braised beef cheeks for the first time and fell head-over-heels in love with this dish.
We didn’t just fall for the seductive taste of the buttery meat in a rich red wine sauce, but also with the fact that this recipe reflects every single aspect of our AYA values: regionality, seasonality and sustainability!
The smooth, ruby-red Ticino Merlot forms the basis of this stew. The onions, celeriac and crunchy carrots – typical winter vegetables from our region – give the sauce that certain something. And the beef cheeks put every filet we’ve ever tried in the shade.
Did you know that only about 15% of butchered beef is used for the common ’prime pieces’? In grandmother’s time, a slaughtered animal was used as holistically as possible. However, prosperity and oversupply have made mankind choosier. Today, the tender, lean pieces ideal for short roasts are in most demand.
These beef cheeks make us aware of what is missing from a culinary point of view if we limit ourselves to the usual 15%. AYA celebrates the “nose to tail” approach and would like to arouse your curiosity about the local meat products that have been forgotten. And this recipe will convince even the greatest skeptic, I promise!
Get your cheeks ready, set, go!
Braised Beef Cheeks
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- 100 g celeriac celery root
- 8 tbsp butter
- 800 g beef cheeks
- 1 bottle of strong red wine we opted for the “Ticino DOC Merlot Amaranto VITI”
- 1 bay leaf
- 5-6 cloves
- Rosemary and thyme
- Corn starch Maizena
- Salt and pepper
- Italian parsley for the garnish
- Wash the meat, pat dry, season with salt and pepper.
- Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in a casserole and sear the meat. As soon as browned on all sides, take it out of the pot and put it aside, covered.
- Dice onions, carrots and celeriac and fry in the same casserole with another 4 tablespoons of butter.
- Add half a bottle of the wine and reduce.
- Add the second half of the wine and bring to the boil briefly, then reduce the heat significantly.
- Put the meat – including the leaked juice – as well as the bay leaf, cloves, rosemary and thyme in the casserole with the red wine. Tip: use a spice ball or a large tea strainer, or cheesecloth, for the spices. Fishing out the rosemary needles is no fun. Been there, done that.
- Cover everything and let it simmer for 3-4 hours, turning the meat occasionally.
- As soon as the meat is tender enough, move on to the sauce. To do this, remove the meat from the casserole and leave it covered.
- Remove the lid from the casserole, increase the heat to maximum and reduce the sauce by a third.
- In the meantime, mix 1 tablespoon of corn starch with cold water in a cup to form a homogeneous mixture.
- As soon as the sauce has boiled down, remove the herbs and, if necessary, add small amounts of the corn starch-water mixture until the desired sauce thickness is achieved.
- Season the sauce with salt and pepper, add the meat and juice again. Garnish with Italian parsley.
- We recommend mashed potatoes as a side dish. Enjoy!