Friday, December 24, 2010

Braised Veal Cheeks

They are cheeky little things, the veal cheeks (or one can take as well beef cheeks) Not too many attempt cooking them, maybe because they are cheeks?????

Anyway, everybody who had the pleasure in trying cheeks will love them forever. They need to be cooked slow and careful and for a very long time as it is a muscle that is used a lot.....literally, but therefore it is a lot more flavourful than, lets say a fillet or sirloin.

I just love the cuts which have to be cooked slowly and for a long time, they just develop such a beautiful flavour, they get tender, are tasty and even on warmer days they are nice to eat. Apart from that they are the perfect party food as they can easily be cooked a couple of days in advance and then just need to be re-heated, cheeky!!!

And I thought after all the starters and sweets, it is about time to have some nice hearty main course. The combination with the Gnocchi goes really well, just make sure the potatoes are really soft and then dried in the oven for about 10 minutes at 100 o C. To get the best result the flour must be mixed in while the potatoes are still hot .

As for braising the cheeks, I am a bit cheeky too and give approximate weights or just ingredients, I don't believe in exact amounts for braising, sometimes one needs a bit more liquid, sometimes a bit less, just never be stingy!

  • Veal Cheeks
  • Oil
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Celeriac
  • Tomato paste
  • Red wine
  • Veal stock or jus
  • Pepper corns, bay leaf, 1 clove, rosemary
  • Salt (very little as the sauce will reduce and flavor will intensify
trim and braise beef cheek in red wine and veal stock cook till tender reserve stock to make sauce…make gnocchi …roast celeriac peel and roast carrots peel and roast shallots….pick spinach…

1 kg of cooked mashed desire potato
300gm flour

Gently fold the ingredients together to form soft dough
Blanch in boiling salted water until they float, Then refresh in ice water.

Then you need the following vegetables, but feel free to swap and change (root veggies are good so for this dish)
  • Baby Carrots
  • Celeriac
  • Spinach
  • Shallots
To Serve reheat cheek in some of reserved liquid…pan fry gnocchi adding finely chiffonnade sage heat shalots carrots and roast celeriac sautéed spinach slice cheek into 3 pieces construct dish and sauce liberally….

Now if you like to know exactly how to braise properly, watch this space I as I will over time part with some chef short cuts so, that I am not fond of short cuts

And then of course.....enjoy the meal, best with friends and maybe a nice bottle of Brunello, especially the Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino...just drink it with good friends, it is not the cheapest wine available, but man, it is gooooooooood!

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