Total time: 5 hours
Servings: 6 to 8
Note: Beef cheeks are not generally available at mainstream grocery stores and supermarkets but can usually be special ordered through a butcher. Let your butcher know how many pounds of trimmed cheeks you need (extra will need to be ordered to compensate for loss from trimming), and have your butcher trim them for you if possible. Reduced brown veal stock (glace or demi-glace) is available at select gourmet markets and cooking stores as well as online; it can be reconstituted with water to use as stock.
2 1/2 pounds trimmed beef cheeks, from about 5 pounds beef cheeks
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
Kosher salt and pepper
6 tablespoons canola oil
2 shallots, sliced
1 bottle dry red wine
4 cups brown veal stock
1 (6-inch) piece of leek (from an individual leaf)
6 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
4 bay leaves
4 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed
2 onions, cut into ½-inch square pieces
3 carrots, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
Red wine vinegar
. Cut beef cheeks into 1½-inch cubes and place them in a large bowl. Dust the meat with the flour and onion powder, and season with 2 teaspoons of salt and one-half teaspoon of pepper.
2. In a high-sided braising pan or oven-proof casserole, heat the canola oil over high heat. Brown the meat on all sides (this may need to be done in batches, as the meat needs to be browned in a single layer and will not brown properly if stacked or packed into the pan), then remove the meat and set it aside in a bowl. In the same pan, add shallots and briefly stir. Add the red wine and stir, scraping any flavoring from the bottom of the pan. Bring the wine to a simmer and reduce by one-third.
3. While the wine is reducing, heat the veal stock in a medium saucepan until hot.
4. When the wine is reduced by one-third, add the hot veal stock. Tie the leek leaf, parsley, thyme and rosemary together to form a bouquet garni. Add the bouquet garni and the bay leaves to the pot and bring to a slow simmer, then add back the browned beef cheek pieces and garlic. Cover the pot (leave the lid slightly askew to allow steam to escape) and gently simmer for 3 hours.
5. After 3 hours, add the onions and carrots to the pot and continue to simmer for 1 additional hour.
6. Taste the broth, and season to taste with salt, pepper and a splash of vinegar. Remove the bouquet garni. (The dish can be made to this point up to a day ahead and refrigerated tightly covered. Skim the fat and reheat before serving.)
7. Depending on how you want to eat the dish, you can strain the vegetables (for more of a sauce) or leave the vegetables in if serving as a stew. Reduce the sauce if desired for a thicker consistency.