August 19, 2011
Chef Ja’Nel Witt is a graduate of the Art Institute of Houston and is one of a handful of female executive chefs in Houston. She runs the kitchen at Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar in River Oaks. She shows food radio talk show host Cleverley Stone, how to use beef cheeks in a sumptuous stew made with Rioja wine. This dish is on Chef Witt’s Houston Restaurant Weeks menu, benefiting the Houston Food Bank. Everytime someone orders the special HRW meal at Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar, $3 from each lunch and $5 from each dinner sold, will be donated to the food bank through August 31. To view the entire HRW menu for Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar, visit the Houston Restaurant Weeks website.
For more information about food, wine and dining in Houston, listen to Cleverley’s radio show Saturdays at Noon on Talk 650 AM.
(By the way, she gives out restaurant gift certificates on every radio show in August!)
Rioja Braised Beef Cheeks (Makes 6-8 servings)
Source: Chef Ja’Nel Witt, Tinto’s Spanish Restaurant
- 5 pounds beef cheeks, cleaned
- 1 (750-ml) bottle Rioja wine
- 2 cups finely chopped onions
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 cup finely chopped carrots
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 cups beef broth or rich chicken stock
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1. Using a very sharp knife, trim the extra fat and the tough silverskin from the beef cheeks.
(You should have approximately 3 pounds of cleaned meat remaining.)
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
3. In a large, oven proof (deep) pan, heat 1/4 cup oil over high heat until almost smoking.
4. Pat dry and season on both sides of beef cheeks with some of the salt and pepper.
5. Sear the meat in the oil, in batches if necessary, until well browned on all sides.
6. Remove from pan and set aside.
7. Add remaining 1/4 cup oil and add onion, celery, carrots and rosemary.
8. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft and beginning to caramelize.
9. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes.
10. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes.
11. Add red wine, bring to a boil and reduce by about 1/2.
12. Add the beef broth, red pepper flakes, paprika and the herbs. Stir well.
13. Cover tightly and place in the oven. Cook for 3 hours or until the cheeks are very tender.
14. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.