1 tablespoon olive oil
700 grams beef cheeks
1 knob of butter
1 onion, finely diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into discs
1 parsnip, peeled and sliced into discs
300ml of red wine
2 cups of good quality beef stock
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 dried bay leaves
salt and pepper
200 grams polenta
1 tablespoon salt
1 litre of water
knob of butter
½ cup parmesan, finely grated
To serve: a handful of fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 160°C.
Place a heavy based casserole dish on the stove top on a medium/high heat. Add the olive oil and beef cheeks and fry until browned on all sides. Remove cheeks and set aside.
Decrease to a low/medium heat and add the butter, onions and celery to the casserole dish. Fry until soft and onions are starting to turn golden brown. Add the garlic, carrot and parsnip and fry for a further 2 minutes.
Add the beef cheeks, red wine, beef stock, brown sugar, thyme, bay leaves and a good pinch of both salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, place the lid on top and put into the oven for four hours. Check on it regularly to make sure it's not becoming too dry or catching on the bottom. If so add a ¼ cup of water and stir.
Once the meat is tender and falling apart, remove the lid and let the liquid reduce for 30 minutes. Bring 1 litre of salted water to the boil. Slowly pour in polenta, whisking continuously as you do to avoid lumps forming. Reduce heat and continue to stir until you feel the polenta thickening.
Cook for 20 minutes or until soft and thickened, stirring every 5 minutes. Stir through the butter and parmesan, once melted remove from heat and serve with beef cheeks and fresh parsley.