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Madeira Braised Veal Cheeks With Creamy Polenta


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  • 5 pounds veal cheeks
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 cups Madeira
  • 2 1/2 cups finely-chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 cups finely-chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup finely-chopped carrots
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Essence (see Bayou Blast recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or more to taste
  • Creamy Polenta II (see recipe)


Servings 6


Step 1

Using a very sharp knife, trim the extra fat and the tough silverskin from the veal cheeks. You should have approximately 3 pounds of cleaned meat remaining.

Transfer the cheeks to a large non-reactive bowl or casserole and add 1 cup of red wine, 1 cup of the Madeira, 1/2 cup of the onions, 1/2 cup of the celery, 1/2 tablespoon of the garlic, bay leaves, rosemary and peppercorns. Stir gently to blend and make sure that the wine covers the meat, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

In a large, ovenproof Dutch-oven or rondeau, heat oil over high heat until almost smoking. Remove meat from marinade, pat dry, and season on both sides with some of the salt and pepper. Sear meat in hot oil, in batches if necessary, until well browned on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add remaining onion and celery to the pan along with the carrots and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are very soft and beginning to caramelize. Add remaining garlic and cook 2 minutes.

Strain the marinade and add to pan along with remaining red wine and Madeira. (Discard vegetables). Bring to a boil, skim any foam off top of liquid, and add water, tomato paste, Essence, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper, and return to a boil.

Add meat and any accumulated juices, stir well, cover tightly, and place in the oven. Cook for 4 1/2 to 5 hours, undisturbed, or until cheeks are very tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary and serve over hot polenta.

This recipe yields 6 servings.

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