Slowcooked beef cheeks with braised vegetables

Arte Culinaria is a fantastic cooking school in Italy's Veneto region, and its hostess, Antonella Tagliapietra, is the source of this wonderful dish. A classic example of slow cooking, it uses a cut of meat that is often overlooked—yet truly mouthwatering and meltingly tender.

1 Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy pan such as an enameled cast-iron saucepan or casserole. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they begin to turn golden brown, 7-9 minutes.

2 Add the beef cheeks, bay leaf, and rosemary to the onions, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned on all sides. When the meat begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, add the wine and stir to deglaze and scrape up any browned bits.

3 Stir in the carrots, celery root, tomatoes, salt, and 1 cup water. Reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently, uncovered, for 2xh hours or until tender. Stir from time to time, so the meat does not stick to the bottom; add a little extra wine or water if the mixture becomes too dry.

4 Serve hot with polenta.

Variation Beef shoulder and chuck are also good choices for this recipe. You could also try it with cuts of lamb that benefit from long, slow cooking.

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 3 hours

3 tbsp olive oil 2 onions, chopped 11/»lb (700g) beef cheeks, cut into chunks and trimmed of any fat

1 bay leaf sprig of fresh rosemary 2/3 cup dry white wine

2 large carrots, thickly sliced

1 celery root, peeled, quartered, and sliced 6-7 very ripe tomatoes, about 1lb (500g), peeled and chopped 1 tsp salt

Works well with

Plum (pp64-73) Standard globe (pp22-35)

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