Slow-Cooked Beef Cheeks in Red Wine with Cauliflower Puree


Anticipating a weekend of wild weather, and with friends coming for dinner on Saturday night, I decided to give these beef cheeks a whirl. I had been discussing them with a very talented cook at work, and this recipe is a combination of our ideas. Looking at the pic now they look a bit dry - argh - they weren't, they were so soft and tender you could eat them with a spoon! I really loved serving them with the cauliflower puree, which was mild and delicious with the dark jus. (It seems like a huge amount when you are cooking it, but whizzes down considerably). The weather didn't quite live up to the dramatic forecast, but with a glass of red and some baby carrots, dinner hit the spot.

6 beef cheeks
4 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots or one kumara, roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
10 garlic cloves, peeled
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 750ml bottle red wine
1 cup water
3 bay leaves
sprig of thyme
6 whole cloves
2 tbsp fig balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp water

1  1/2 cauliflowers, cut into florets
1 cup cream
50g butter
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Trim beef cheeks to remove sinew and silvery bits and cut in halves. Heat half the olive oil in a large oven proof casserole dish and sear beef for a couple of minutes on both sides, in batches, then put aside. Preheat oven to 150˚C (300˚F) Heat the remaining oil in the pot and add carrot, celery, onion, garlic cloves and salt and pepper. Cook over a medium heat until just softened, about 15 minutes. Add wine, water, bay leaves, thyme, cloves and balsamic if using, and return beef cheeks to the pot. Bring to a simmer on the cook top then transfer to the oven and cook for 4 hours. Allow to cool in the cooking liquid overnight. They will keep at this stage for a couple of days in the fridge. (The longer the better for flavour!) On the afternoon of serving, removing beef from stock and strain stock into a large pot. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30-40 minutes, until stock is dark and reduced. Mix cornflour with water and stir into stock. Return cheeks to the pot and cook over a gentle heat until you are ready to serve - up to an hour longer. While this is heating, prepare cauliflower by putting florets in a large pot with cream and butter. Cook over a medium/low heat until tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender, whizz, season with plenty of salt and pepper and keep warm until serving. Spoon a helping of cauliflower onto each plate and top with one or two pieces of beef cheek. Spoon over some of the jus, season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh parsley or thyme. Serves 6


  1. Hello! I've currently got a casserole in the oven with your recipe and my house smells amazing. I've made this recipe a few times now and it is always an absolute hit! So thank you so much, it's definitely perfect for the cold nights here in the Blue Mountains.

    1. Hi Alba - yay, thanks so much and I'm so glad you have enjoyed it - I just told my husband about your comment and he has requested it for this weekend! :)

  2. Hi Sarah,
    Love your work! I'm just making this for dinner on Saturday night but am using 10 beef cheeks as having 8 for dinner and 4 are big eaters....I've added 1 1/2 cups extra water so hopefully that is enough for them to stay moist. What do you suggest regarding increased cooking time? Thanks, Catherine.

    1. Hi Catherine - as long as the beef cheeks are simmering the cooking time should be the same - but certainly no less. Because of the extra water you may have to reduce (simmer longer) the cooking liquid more at the end to get the intensity of flavour. Good luck, and I hope you and your friends have a great night! :)