Braised Beef Cheeks with Chestnuts and Red Wine

While comfort foods such as soups and stews are good all year round, they’re even more welcome on a dark cold winter day. These meltingly tender beef cheeks with chestnuts and red wine should definitely be on your list of deliciously warming comfort foods. The slow-cooked meat is so soft and tender it can be cut with a spoon, while the chestnuts are slightly nutty and sweet, and the red wine braising liquid is full of flavour and incredibly moreish.


Sure, it takes about 3.5 hours of braising the meat, but then you’ve really got something… and most of the cooking is hands-off and you can just leave the meat to simmer on the stove whilst you go do something else.
I like this dish on its own, but it’s even more comforting scooped over some creamy mashed potatoes, buttery polenta, or even some pasta. Sounds good? Thought so.


Braised Beef Cheeks with Chestnuts and Red Wine

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Tender beef cheeks and chestnuts braised in red wine.
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:220 mins
  • Serves:4
  • Freezable:Yes

Nutrition per portion

  • 400g whole chestnuts
  • 1kg beef cheeks
  • Flour for dusting
  • 50g butter
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 medium carrots (about 200g total)
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 6 large sage leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500ml red wine
  • 600ml beef stock, or water
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  1. Prep: Cut large beef cheeks into large chunks (either halved or on thirds depending on the size). Cut onion into rings and roughly chop the carrots and celery.
  2. Dust beef cheeks with the flour and season with salt and pepper on all sides.
  3. Place an iron cast pot, or Dutch oven over medium- high heat and allow the butter to melt once the pan is hot. Brown flour-dusted meat on all sides then transfer meat onto a plate.
  4. Add sliced onions, carrots, celery, smashed garlic cloves, sage and bay leaves to the same pot you just browned the meat in. Sauté for 6 – 8 minutes until onions start to brown and vegetables start to soften slightly.
  5. Once the vegetables are browned, return the meat to the pan and cover with the red wine and stock or water. The liquid should cover at least two-thirds (or more) of the meat. Season lightly with some salt and pepper (don’t add salt yet if you’re using salty stock). Cover pot and turn heat to low. Allow to simmer softly for 3 hours, or until very tender.
Whilst your meat is cooking, roast the chestnuts in the oven:
  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut a cross into the skin on the rounded side of each chestnut so they don’t explode in the oven.
  2. Place the chestnuts cut side up onto a baking tray and roast them in the pre-heated oven until the skins start to open and the insides become a bit soft and golden. This will take about 15 - 20 minutes.
  3. Take the chestnuts out of the oven and cover them with a clean towel for about 15 minutes to let the steam loosen the skin. Let the chestnuts cool down a little until safe to touch, but don’t let them cool down completely as it will be harder to peel them. Peel away the hard outer layer, fuzz and thin skin covering the chestnuts. Set aside until needed.
To finish the dish:
  1. Once the meat has cooked for 3 hours, or until very tender, uncover the pot and add the roasted chestnuts. Allow to simmer uncovered for another 30 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly*.
  2. Serve with mashed potatoes, pasta or buttery polenta.

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