Main Dish

Braised Beef Cheeks with Winter Squash Polenta and Pomegranate Arils

Silver Oak Cellars

24625 Chianti Rd
Geyserville, CA 95441

Beef cheeks are an awesome cut to braise. Loaded with flavor, they pair beautifully with Silver Oak’s 2010 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Ask your local butcher if they carry beef cheeks or if they can source them. Boneless short ribs make a great substitution.

Braised Beef Cheeks

  • 2 pounds beef cheeks
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 5 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • All-purpose flour as needed
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
In a large bowl, combine the beef cheeks, wine, onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, garlic, fennel seeds, juniper berries, coriander and the 1 teaspoon pepper. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef cheeks to a separate bowl and set aside.

Pour the marinade (including the vegetables, herbs and spices) into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer to burn off the alcohol. Add the broth, remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm a little olive oil. Toss the beef cheeks with flour, salt and pepper. Add to the pot and sear until browned on all sides.

Add the wine-stock mixture to the pot along with the beef cheeks and bring to a simmer. Transfer to the oven and cook until the meat is very tender, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef cheeks to a bowl. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and return the liquid to the pot. Set over medium-high heat and simmer until reduced by half. Return the beef cheeks to the sauce and heat until warmed through.

Winter Squash Polenta

  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 cup winter squash puree
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan, combine the broth and bay leaf and bring to a simmer over high heat. Whisk in the polenta and continue to stir until all of the polenta is fully dissolved in the broth. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes. 

Fold in the winter squash, crème fraîche and cheese. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.


To serve, spoon the polenta into individual bowls and top with the beef cheeks and sauce. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds.