from Charlie Palmer's American Fare
The boys discovered beef cheeks on the menu at my flagship restaurant, Aureole, in New York City. They decided that they liked them far better than the short ribs I’d been making at home. I try to make it an all-in-one dish with the onions making a sweet, savory sauce and the chard rounding out the meal. If you can’t find beef cheeks, beef stew meat will do just fine; and if you are still a short rib fan, this recipe works very well with them.
• 8 large beef cheeks or 4 pounds beef chuck, cut into large cubes
• About 1 cup all-purpose flour
• Salt and pepper
• ¼ cup canola oil
• ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
• 6 onions, cut crosswise into thin slices
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 5 cups beef stock or canned nonfat, low-sodium beef broth
• 1 cup dry red wine
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 4 sprigs fresh thyme
• 3 bay leaves
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Place the beef in a large bowl. Add the flour and season with salt and pepper, tossing to coat well. Remove the beef cubes from the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven with a lid over medium heat. Add the beef, a few pieces at a time, and sear, turning occasionally, until nicely browned on all sides. As seared, transfer to a plate.
When all of the beef has been seared, wipe any fat from the pan, return to medium heat, and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until beginning to color. Stir in the vinegar and garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes or just until the onions begin to caramelize.
Add the stock, wine, and Worcestershire sauce, stirring to blend. Add the seared beef along with the thyme and bay leaves. The liquid should just barely cover the meat. Cover the pan and bake, occasionally turning the meat, for about 3 hours or until the beef is very, very tender.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a warm serving platter. Tent lightly with aluminum foil and keep warm.
Place the Dutch oven over high heat and bring the remaining liquid to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes or until the liquid and onions are reduced to a sauce-like consistency. Taste and, if necessary, season with salt and pepper.
Pour some of the melted onion sauce over the meat and pass the remainder on the side. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with a hearty green like Swiss chard.
Note: Beef cheeks are exactly that, the cheek muscles of a cow. They have only recently been found on restaurant menus, but have been used by thrifty home cooks for generations. The meat is extremely lean and therefore quite tough so it takes a long slow braise to tenderize it.
Note: Beef cheeks are exactly that, the cheek muscles of a cow. They have only recently been found on restaurant menus, but have ben used by thrifty home cooks for generations. The meat is extremely lean and therefore quite tough, so it takes a long, slow braise to tenderize it.