Life All Travel Destinations Entertaining Food All Chefs Recipes Restaurants Wine Matching Wine All Wine 101 Wine News Wine Regions Wine Varietals Home > Selector Magazine > Food > Beef cheeks in baharat spice with roasted brussels sprouts and soft polenta Food Beef cheeks in baharat spice with roasted brussels sprouts and soft polenta Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 6+ hours Serves 4 - 6 INGREDIENTS 1.3kg approx. (4) beef cheeks 2 tbsp baharat spice mix Salt and freshly ground black pepper ¹/³ cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil ½ (125ml) cup dry sherry 2 cups (500ml) good red wine 2 large onions, roughly chopped 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 2 cups (500ml) beef stock 3 bay leaves 6 sprigs thyme Salt flakes and black pepper, to taste 2 bunches Dutch carrots, steamed, to serve Micro herbs Roasted brussels sprouts 750g brussels sprouts, trimmed 2 tbsp caramelised balsamic or vincotto 2 tbsp (40g) butter Polenta 1½ cups (375ml) chicken stock or water 1½ cups (375ml) water 1½ cups (255g) instant polenta 1 cup (250ml) milk 1 tbsp butter METHOD Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Pat beef cheeks dry with paper towel and rub with spice mix. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, add half the olive oil and brown the cheeks on each side. Remove beef cheeks to an oven-proof casserole dish. Deglaze the frying pan with sherry and red wine then reduce by half and add to the casserole. Wipe out the frying pan and add remaining olive oil. Add onions and celery to soften. Add garlic and cook a minute more. Deglaze with beef stock. Add to the casserole with bay leaves and thyme, cover, place in the oven. Turn the beef cheeks frequently. Check after 2 hours. They may take up 6 hours to be tender. Uncover for final hour of cooking, still turning a few times. Cook sprouts in salted simmering water for 4–5 minutes or until just tender. Drain and cut in halves, reserving any loose leaves. Place on a baking tray with leaves, drizzle with balsamic, butter, salt and pepper and place in oven. Cook for 30 minutes. (Sprouts can also be cooked in hot oven for 10 minutes). For the polenta: Combine the stock and water in a medium saucepan; bring to the boil, gradually stir in the polenta. Cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the polenta is tender. Stir in the milk and season to taste with salt and pepper and stir through butter. Set aside and whisk occasionally. To serve: place polenta on plate, top with beef and drizzle over sauce. Garnish with micro herbs, serve with sprouts, carrots. Food Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 6+ hours Serves 4 - 6 SHARE You might also like Food 6 Wines to bring luck and prosperity in the Year of the Rooster The Lunar New Year is the most significant event on the Asian calendar. While it’s most famously celebrated in China, festivities also take place across East and South East Asians countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan and Japan. With so many different Asian communities at home here in Australia, Lunar New Year celebrations are getting bigger every year. While each community has its own unique take on the event, common to all is the gathering of friends and family for a traditional feast. At Wine Selectors, we are constantly searching for the perfect union and harmony between wine and food dishes. We’ve selected 6 wines that are the perfect match to Lunar New Year celebrations this year that celebrate the fusion of food, wine, and culture. LISA MCGUIGAN PINOT GRIS 2015 In China, traditional reunion dinners or ‘Nian Ye Fan’ are celebrated by families on New Year's Eve. They focus around ‘dishes with a meaning’, symbolic usherings for the year ahead, such as luck, prosperity, and good health. In Mandarin, the word for Fish 鱼 (Yú /yoo), sounds like ‘surplus’ and so fish has become synonymous with prosperity and should be intentionally left unfinished during the reunion dinner to enhance this sense of excess and abundance. The Lisa McGuigan Pinot Gris 2015 is the perfect accompaniment to fish dishes due to the tropical fruit flavours and bright acidity, which perfectly complement fresh fish. Matched Recipe: Sauteed Fish with Celery. JACKSON’S HILL YARRA VALLEY CHARDONNAY 2016 In the Year of the Rooster, gold and yellow are thought to be lucky colours and also they tie in perfectly with a fine Hunter Valley Chardonnay. The creamy mouthfeel and mid-weight concentration of this wine are a great match for spicy dishes. The savoury, nutty stonefruit flavours in this wine offer fantastic support to dishes with the characteristic sweetness of palm sugar. Matched Recipe: Stir-fried Chicken with Beans WILLOW BRIDGE ESTATE DRAGONFLY CHENIN BLANC 2015 In Chinese culture, the dragonfly is associated with prosperity and peace and it’s used as a good luck charm. While we can’t promise you that enjoying the Dragonfly Chenin Blanc from Willow Bridge Estate will bring you good luck, we can promise it’s a delicious match with tofu stir-fry. Its bright and zesty citrus elements complement the understated, creamy flavours in the tofu, while the wheat notes form the udon and the light heat from the chilli are subtly balanced the wine’s weight and texture. Matched Recipe: Tofu, chilli & Udon noodle stir-fry RED WINES FOR CHINESE NEW YEAR It’s not just white wines that make great partners to traditional Asian flavours. At Wine Selectors, we’ve found that the light bodied, dark cherry fruits of Pinot Noir work perfectly with delicate dumpling or noodle dishes. The soft velvety plum flavours of a fine Hunter Valley Shiraz match with the sweetness and warmth of many traditional Chinese dishes. While the ripe, soft fruit and tannins of a fine Grenache match perfectly with the refined spice of an East Asian Curry. NINTH ISLAND PINOT NOIR 2015 This classic Pinot Noir from the north of Tasmania with its soft savoury flavours and a low tannin profile is the perfect accompaniment to traditional Luna New Year ‘lucky dumplings’( 饺子 Jiǎozi) or a sweet pork belly dish. This 2015 vintage is a particularly good choice as the number 5 is a lucky number in the year of the Rooster. Matched Recipe: Caramelised Pork Belly Salad YALUMBA OLD BUSH VINE GRENACHE 2014 The complex mix of flavours, texture, and spice in an East Asian curry require a wine that matches its flavour weight, but has a soft mouthfeel and subtle texture. This Old World style Grenache is the perfect fit; it has a soft red cherry intensity delivered with a silky, soft and elegant mouthfeel. Delicious! Matched Recipe: Malaysian White Curry Chicken ANDREW THOMAS SYNERGY SHIRAZ 2014 Synergy and harmony are vital during New Year Celebrations, perfectly embodied in this spectacular Shiraz combining select barrels from old vine vineyards. Earthy and rich, yet soft and savoury characters make this Hunter Valley classic from one of the best Hunter vintages in living memory a great match for the weight and depth of flavours in a refined curry dish. The nutty, complex mix of spice and coconut milk in a curry are lifted beautifully by the medium weight dark berry fruit, allspice and cedary elements of this wine. Matched Recipe: Massaman Curry with Beef DISCOVER A DELICIOUS FUSION OF FOOD, WINE AND CULTURE THIS LUNAR NEW YEAR To celebrate the Year of the Rooster, Wine Selectors has partnered with Asian Inspirations to hand select six Australian wines that perfectly enhance the authentic Asian flavours of the spectacular recipes in the included recipe booklet. From chicken to pork, fish and beef, and noodles to chilli, curry and soy, the rich flavours of Asian cuisine are on show, providing a plethora of delicious dishes to enjoy. Discover the delicious fusion of food, wine and culture - order now! Wine Pinot Gris vs Grigio: What’s the difference? Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same grape variety, so what's the difference? We talk to some passionate Pinot G winemakers to find out. While it's fast becoming one of Australia's most popular varieties, PinotGris/Grigio still presents a point of confusion for many wine-lovers. Made from one variety, a member of the Pinot Noir family, this grape has two different names thanks to the two countries in which it is most commonly grown: France and Italy. Gris is French for "grey" and in France it finds its home in the Alsace region. French Pinot Gris is generally known for being a rich, full-bodied white with a lovely silky texture. Grigio is the Italian for "grey" and in contrast to the French, Italian Grigio has made a name for being a light, crisp wine ideal for early drinking and is most famously known in the regions of Veneto and Friuli. Across the two styles, the common aroma and flavour descriptors include apple, pear, strawberry, honey, hay, brioche and bread. AUSSIE HOME The variety was first introduced to the Hunter Valley with the James Busby collection of 1832, however it wasn't until the 1990s that the variety started to really emerge. This was thanks to a winemaking couple who made their home on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula in 1988: Kathleen Quealy and Kevin McCarthy. Having been introduced to Pinot Gris at college, Kathleen felt intuitively that they had come to the perfect region for producing the variety. They released their first commercial Pinot Gris in 1993, have had huge success since, and are now seen as setting the benchmark for Australian interpretations of the variety. Following in their footsteps is their son, Tom, a winemaker at Quealy wines who has inherited his parents' passion for Pinot G. What's more, he's been to the homes of both the Gris and Grigio styles. "I have worked vintages at Domain Paul Blanck in Alsace, where Pinot Gris is 1 of 4 premium varieties", he explains. "Their vineyards define the quality and the personality of each of their wines. They revel in the power and voluptuousness of these wines, from bone dry with the generous dollop of extract in the middle palate, to off dry with enough flavour and structure to make the wine balanced and suitable with a main course. They are able to make and market their even richer sweeter late harvest styles. The wines are beautiful to drink, slightly drying out with a few years bottle age, and suit their dishes of duck and pork. "I have also worked and spent time in Friuli. Their lighter soils and their food culture define their Pinot Grigio style: crunchy pear, dry and textured. The winemaking art of blending abounds. There are field blends and regional blends of many white varieties, with Pinot Grigio a central component." MORNINGTON MAGIC Back home, Tom explains the Mornington Peninsula 's superior suitability for Pinot G down to a combination of regional factors. "It's the climate - cool, maritime, Indian summers. It's the cloud cover and sea breezes. The Red Hill and Main Ridge flank creates intimate valleys of rich volcanic soils that hold onto the rainfall. The dryland farming keeps each berry and bunch tiny and concentrated. Then there's a winemaking fraternity reared on Pinot Noir and now applying these skills to their love child Pinot Gris." ADELAIDE HILLS EXCELLENCE Another standout Aussie Pinot G producer is Wicks Estate in the Adelaide Hills , where, Tim Wicks, explains, "The cool evenings promote great acid retention in the fruit, along with a gradual flavour ripeness without excess phenolic development. This allows the variety to retain a charming aromatic lift which combines beautifully with the subtle textural elements." At Wicks Estate, they make a Gris rather than a Grigio, but as Tim describes, it may be akin to the Gris style, but it maintains a hint of the Grigio aromatics and racier acid lines. This is reflective of the Gris-Grigio overlap that Tim sees as common in Australia. "We have countless fantastic wines that tend towards either the richer Gris characters or lighter aromatic Grigio characteristics. There are also wines that exhibit traits of both, take our Wicks Estate Pinot Gris , for example. We like the sharpened focus and aromatic style of the Grigio, but tend to lean towards the textural qualities of Gris on the palate. The styles have their own identity, however, we have diverse terroir and climate in Australia that can lend itself to a hybrid style." THE PROOF IS IN THE TASTING At the end of the day, whether you go for a richer Gris or a zestier Grigio , or a mix of both, only your palate can decide. To help you choose, we've got an extensive range from the Mornington Peninsula, Adelaide Hills and beyond to explore . Wine Meet Alex Russell of Alejandro Wines More and more alternative wine varietals are being grown and produced here in Australia. We catch-up with Alex Russell to chat about his passion for these delicious drops and his exciting alejandro range. Your alejandro label focuses on a diverse selection of alternative varieties of European origin including Montepulciano, Nero d’Avola, Fiano and Arneis – why these varieties? Shortly after starting work for Angove in Renmark, the then chief winemaker Warrick Billings, introduced me to Riverland Vine Improvement Committee (RVIC). RVIC at the time was an importer of new varieties and they would propagate the vines and produce trial wine from them. I agreed to produce trial wine for them on a voluntary basis. I bottled their 2008 vintage and started making wine for them in 2009, in addition to my role at Angove. Before long, we were crushing far more than anticipated and the facility was filled with small winemaking equipment I had been accumulating since the early 2000s. As far as choosing different varieties, I’ve never accepted the status quo. In 2011, Fiano , Vermentino and Montepulciano were bullet-proof during the worst vintage we had had in 30 years and the latter two went on to win Gold medals at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. From there I led RVIC into their own label, Cirami Estate. It was a little too entrepreneurial for RVIC and we parted ways after vintage 2014 at which point alejandro was born. I didn’t choose these varieties, they chose me. These varieties are perfectly suited to being grown in the Riverland and Mildura and produce textured, flavoursome and distinctly varietal wines. What would you say to our Members to encourage them to try more of these varieties? If you enjoy wine enough to purchase through Wine Selectors, you know enough about wine to broaden your horizons. Have an open mind, ignore the name, even set up a blind tasting with friends, and just take the wine for what it is – it’s much easier to remember Saperavi or Bianco d’Alessano when you’ve had a great experience with them. What makes the Riverland region so suited to growing Mediterranean-style and alternative varieties? Riverland and Mildura regions are equally suited to alternative varietal wines. If you’ve travelled to Spain or Italy during summer months, you’ll know the climates in Mildura and Renmark are very similar. The regions are hot and dry, with low disease pressure and there is so much sun. These varieties love sun and heat with Montepulciano ripening among the latest of all – late April for vintage 2017. Many of these wines, Graciano and Tempranillo , are as boozy in Spain as they are here. That said, the whites are produced with moderate alcohol to retain their fresh, distinctive flavours. Can you recall the first wine you tried? My parents always drank wine – from a cask. We had sips of wine here and there, but the best memory of my first wine was following work selling pies at the footy – the MCG. I was 14 or 15 years old and I had made my first wine by this stage, but I remember this fondly because it involved getting wine from the super boxes of the old northern stand. The foil capsule had been removed from these reds and were therefore unsalable. I took the bottles home with quite a number of Four’n’Twenty pies and my father and I sat on the couch and we ate pies and drank red wine together. Making it more memorable for me was how hot and red in the face I became having bumped consumption from a few sips to a couple of glasses. When did you fall in love with wine? I think I fell in love with making booze before I fell in love with wine. I was always close with my dad, he’s gone now, but he loved his beer. I used my pie selling income to buy a home brew kit from Kmart and produced Coopers Lager – though this was after I’d made my first mash beer using 4.5L demijohns and every item of stainless in the kitchen. Do you remember that moment? What happened? After the first mash came, Coopers, ginger beer, apple cider, elderberry wine and in Year 10, I made my first Shiraz, ironically from Shiraz juice concentrate out of a can from the Riverland ’s Berri. Another memorable moment was vintage 2002 in Mildura, working for Littore Family Wines. At the time they had a Merlot block in Gol Gol with 2000m long rows. I found a rogue vine in row 57 from the north end, 16 panels to the south. It was an off-white variety, I picked the fruit and soon realized it was Gewürztraminer. My housemates and I drank that wine before it had finished fermenting. Do you have an all-time favourite wine to make? Why is it this wine? That’s like asking who your favourite child is – all wines are different and there’s an occasion for each. I do like making Montepulciano, but mainly drink Tempranillo and Durif. Now with a vineyard in Tasmania, I also produce Pinot Noir which is a very interesting wine. There’s a wine for every occasion and every appetite. There are some 15 wines in my range – gives me a lot of choice! Other than your own wine, what is the wine that you like to drink at home? I like to compare competitors’ wines, like varieties and other obscure varieties, but the quaffers I like are Rosé wines. I’m not a fan of Cabernet Rosé or ‘drain off’ Rosé but give me a purpose produced Rosé with four days cold soak and I’m all over it. What is your ultimate food and wine match? My first experience with such food was at the 2012 Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show where Stephano di Pierre cooked and we had Vermentino with freshly shucked oysters with lemon and fresh oregano. Tempura Sardines are great with Bianco d’Alessano. In Tasmania we grow Wiltshire Horn sheep for meat. They mow the vineyard down in winter and keep hard to slash areas clean during the growing season. The meat is rich, tender and moist – Lagrein is a good match for this lamb. Can you cook? If so, what is your ‘signature dish’? My wife and I lived in China for 12 months, near the North Korean border. I used to cook a lot more but now my wife cooks anything and everything, she has a knack for it. When I cook I go Chinese and cook the dongbei cai from the north east of China, Dalian and Pulandian. These are better suited to Tsingtao and Mi Jiu and although considered qiung ren cai (poor man’s food) they are simple and delicious: Ban san ding is chopped cucumber and red onion with fresh roasted peanuts (skin on) with fish sauce and sesame oil dressing (and a dash of MSG). Tu dou zi is shredded potato with carrot, green chilli and garlic, stir fried for about 30 seconds with fish sauce and sesame oil. Xie hong shi chao ji dan is stir fried egg and tomato, again with fish and sesame, and don’t forget the garlic. It’s simple and really quick to prepare. What do you think is special about your wine region? Tasmania is now home and we are expanding our vineyard. Pinot is a great variety to grow and produce and the whites are excellent – although most visitors are left a little wanting for a big red. Riverland and Mildura (and Riverina) are the work engines for Australian wine and where I gained all my experience. They are quickly snubbed by many but do produce good wine. My greatest criticism of South Australia and the Riverland is that even many Riverland businesses dismiss their own wines when tourists ask for something local, offering Clare or Barossa instead. Do you have a favourite holiday destination/memory? Spain. Fly into Barcelona and jump in a rental car and head up to Ainsa, Mont Serrat. We have a winemaker friend named Ara there who I worked at Zilzie with in 2008. She came back to Australia for vintage 2012 in the Riverland and might have helped a little with alejandro in 2016 when she was here on holiday. Ara lives in Hellin and produces wine from Murcia region. Spanish food, wine and beer – ahhh! What is your favourite… Movie? Gladiator. I’m a wanna be Maximus, and the sound track I used to play when I slept – my housemates were worried at the time. TV show? Dexter, everyone loves it when a baddie gets it. Big Bang Theory because I was one of those nerds – a cross between Howard and Leonard. Sport/Sporting Team? Cricket…. Beer? My taste constantly changes depending on the day or the menu, but I love hoppy beers and stouts and pilsners with saaz and hallertau hops.