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Compliments of the Chef: Beef Cheek Ragout from Unreserved at the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek

Written By Scott Joseph On October 14, 2022

Unreserved beef cheek ragout

If you read my recent review of Unreserved, the multi-faceted restaurant at the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek, you know that chef Peter Kunstek is cooking up some good food there.

One of his more popular dishes is the Beef Cheek Ragout with Gnocchi and he shares the recipe in this edition of Compliments of the Chef. Actually, he shares three recipes: the braised beef cheeks, the potato gnocchi and putting it all together. The latter is shown in the video below.

This is a good full day project, or you can make the beef cheeks ahead of time and use premade gnocchi (Kunstek says that’s fine) and assemble the ragout in just a few minutes.

Watch the video then give the recipes a try.

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Beef Cheek Ragout
Braised Beef Cheeks – 1 cup (recipe below)
Beef Jus – 1 cup
Potato Gnocchi – 2 cups (recipe below)
Roasted cremini mushrooms – ½ cup (halved and pre-roasted)
Rainbow swiss chard – ½ cup
Chopped garlic – 1 tablespoon
Chopped shallot – 1 tablespoon
Butter – 1 tablespoon
Salt and epper – To Taste
Shaved Pecorino – garnish

Heat sauté pan with oil, sauté garlic and shallots till caramelized
Add mushrooms and Swiss chard, season
Add beef cheek and beef jus.
Cook gnocchi in salted water till they float and are cooked through.
Add gnocchi to ragout, season, and add butter.
Stir and cook till butter is incorporated and sauce is coating the gnocchi.
Plate and garnish with grated pecorino.

Braised Beef Cheeks
Beef cheeks – 10 pounds
Garlic cloves, diced – 3 ounces
Yellow jumbo onion – 1 each (large dice)
Carrots – 1 each (large dice)
Celery – 2 ribs (large dice)
Tomato paste – 1cup
Fresh sage – 1 handful
Fresh oregano – 1 handful
Red wine – 1 pint (not fancy)
Salt and pepper – to taste
Chicken stock/water: 1 gallon

Season beef cheeks with salt and pepper. Sear beef cheeks in large skillet or dutch oven with a little oil until all sides have color. Add garlic and sauté. Add onions, celery, and carrots: continuing to sauté. Once caramelized add tomato paste and herbs. Next add the bottle of red wine and season. Reduce for about 2 minutes and then add chicken stock/water mixture to cover the beef. Bring to a boil and reduce heat till it starts to simmer. Cover and cook on medium-low heat until beef cheeks are tender, around 3 – 4 hours. Alternately, place in oven at 275 degrees. Remove from jus and separate meat from fat parts. Strain jus. Once fat has been removed, return the meat to jus. Cool and it is ready to use.

Potato Gnocchi
¼ pound “00” flour
1 ½ pounds ricotta cheese
Pinch of salt
2 whole eggs
½ cup milk
¼ tsp oil
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped parsley
Mix all ingredients except flour in large mixing bowl.
Add flour and continue to mix till dough consistency is formed, add more flour if needed.
Let rest 30 minutes. Then using small sections of dough, roll into strips and cut into quarter sized pieces.
Gently run gnocchi pieces over a gnocchi board or fork to make indents
Add to boiling salted water and cook until they float.

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