Nothing beats a stovetop stew. Feed the family with this hearty beef version.
1kg beef cheeks
½ head of garlic
500ml beef stock
½ bottle of red wine (e.g. Valpolicella or Dolcetto)
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
6 juniper berries
2 sprigs thyme
1 bunch baby beets
1 bunch Dutch carrots
2 baby leeks
- Trim excess fat off beef cheeks. Seal on all sides in a hot pan.
- Roughly cut onions and garlic, and fry in a heavy-based saucepan. Place beef cheeks on top. Half fill with stock then top up with red wine to cover.
- Cut a few tomatoes up and place in the saucepan along with a few bay leaves, rosemary sprigs and a handful of juniper berries and peppercorns. Bring to a slow simmer and cook for 3 hours.
- To cook the polenta, warm the milk, cream, butter and thyme. When simmering, pour in polenta. Cook for 5 minutes until thickened and not grainy, and season.
- Boil the beets, carrots and leeks in salted water until al dente. Then grill the vegetables on a char-grill, ready for garnishing.
- Take the beef cheeks out of the liquid, season, and allow to rest. Reduce sauce and strain.
- Spread polenta on the plate and make a pool. Make a garden out of the roast vegetables. Slice a beef cheek into two or three and place on top.
Garnish with cress and garlic flowers from the garden.
About Che Devlin
Eating food in its place always tastes better.
It’s something that Byron Bay chef Che Devlin learnt from working overseas.
“What I really loved about Europe was the sense of locality. Every village, town and region was famous for what grew and came from that region. You’d go to an area that was famous for asparagus, and if you went there out of season they’d tell you to come back in six months.”
So when Che returned to Australia and opened up the Fig Tree restaurant in the Byron hinterland, he wanted to keep that local approach. His kitchen uses ingredients that come from the farmers’ market, his neighbours or the veggie garden out the back.
The dish he has created for you to try uses seasonal winter ingredients and can be tailored to impress.
“There’s no difference between restaurant cooking and home cooking,” Che says. “It’s usually just executing a different level of skill. It’s very much going away from meat and three veg, to trying a three veg and some meat.”