Braised Veal Cheeks with Coconut Risotto

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Total: 6 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Inactive: 2 hr
  • Cook: 3 hr 30 min


8 veal cheeks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for searing

2 slices bacon, chopped

1 onion, chopped, plus 1/2 onion, diced

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

1 stick ginger, chopped

4 cups red wine

3/4 cup soy sauce

Skin from 1 whole pineapple

4 cups veal stock

2 to 3 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon

1 cup arborio rice

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 can coconut milk

1/2 cup diced papaya

1 tomato, diced

2 sprigs mint, chopped

2 sprigs cilantro, chopped

Serving suggestions: parsnip chips or fried shallots.


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Season the veal cheeks with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and then add enough oil to lightly coat the skillet. Let the oil heat, and then add the veal to the pan, and sear it on all sides until browned.
  3. In a Dutch oven or oven-safe pot, cook the bacon slowly over low heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot, and ginger, and cook for 4 minutes. Add the wine, soy sauce, and pineapple skin, and bring to a boil. Add the veal stock, and return to a boil. Add the seared veal cheeks, and place pot in the oven to braise for 2 1/2 hours.
  4. Closer to serving time, make the risotto. In a medium saucepot, sweat the remaining diced onion in 2 to 3 tablespoons butter for 2 minutes over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low. Add the risotto rice, and stir with a wooden spoon to coat it in the butter. Slowly add the chicken broth in 2 equal additions, not adding the second addition until the first has been almost completely absorbed. Stir constantly during the entire process. After all of the chicken broth has been absorbed, add the coconut milk, and then add enough of the braising liquid until the risotto is cooked to your taste. Fold in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, papaya, tomato, and herbs. Serve immediately.
  5. Place the risotto in the center of a plate and place 2 veal cheeks on top. Garnish parsnip chips or fried shallots, if desired.
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1 Review

Rachel H.

This recipe was easy to follow. The veal, which you can find online at specialty meat shops, cooked nicely, and became incredibly tender. The braising juice was to die for, too; it was a shame to pour it out. The risotto, which truly needs to be made with arborio rice, was the most flavorful I've ever had/prepared. Not adding the tomato and papya until the end allowed for the fruits to stay fresh and firm, not soggy. No one ingredient overpowered the other; the risotto wasn't too coconut or fruit heavy. The veal didn't taste too heavily of soy, ginger, or wine. The flavors were all perfectly balanced. If you don't want to buy a pineapple to skin, hit up your local grocery store's salad bar and see if they can give you the skins from the pineapples they shave every day. I used a Cotes-du-Rhone, 70% garnache and 30% syrah, for the cooking and serving wine. Because it's light, dry, and fruity, it cooks and pairs perfectly without stealing the show. This recipe is well crafted.

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