If you can’t find beef cheeks, short ribs will work just as well, but ask your butcher first if they have them for they are meatier, richer, and more tender than any other braising meat.
2 lb beef cheeks or boneless short ribs*
1 yellow onion, medium
1 celery stalk 1 carrot
4 stems thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cup water
3 cups red wine
*ask your butcher to trim your beef cheeks of any excess sinew and if using short ribs to trim the thicker excess fat on the outside.
To make the braise:
About 40 minutes before you start to cook your meat pull it out of the refrigerator and salt it generously. Let it rest outside the refrigerator, to take the chill off before cooking it.
Chop your vegetables, a rough chop is fine, and set aside.
In a large dutch oven or similar pot with a lid, heat 2 Tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Sear half the meat on each side until nicely browned without crowding the pan. Remove the meat to a plate and repeat with the remaining pieces.
Turn down the heat to medium high and heat another Tablespoon of olive oil. Add your chopped vegetables and sauté them for about 5 minutes- until they no longer look completely raw. Pour the wine into your pot and scrape the brown bits off the bottom. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Add the water, browned meat, herbs and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cover with the lid.
Simmer on medium for 2-3 hours— until the meat is very tender, almost falling apart. About an hour into the braising turn the meat once. Start checking for doneness around 2 hours.
Once the meet is completely tender, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and discard the thyme stems and bay leaves.
Using a handheld blender purée the cooking liquid and vegetables. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes. Then taste it. Does it need more salt? Add some if you think so.
Return the meat to the sauce. Cool and store if cooking the day before or keep warm over low heat if serving.
Serve on a bed of chickpea puree. Spoon a little of the wine sauce over the beef and top with caper raisin mojo.