Pedro ximenez beef cheek

Pedro Ximenez beef cheek.
Pedro Ximenez beef cheek. Photo: Marina Oliphant

These lesser cuts of beef are also great value to buy and, when teamed with the incredible winter vegetables available, all bases are covered. Except for the final important decision: which red to open.


3kg beef cheeks

100ml olive oil

2 brown onions, chopped

1 whole head of garlic, split

2 carrots, chopped

1/4 bunch thyme

3 fresh bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

1lt Pedro Ximenez sherry

500ml red wine



Heat oven to 200C. Clean sinew from beef cheeks, season with sea salt and place cheeks on a baking tray. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes each side. Remove when well browned.

In a heavy-based pot, heat olive oil and caramelise onion, garlic head and carrots. Add herbs and spices and cook for 3 minutes. Add sherry and wine, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add browned cheeks, top up with 1 litre of water, cover with baking paper and a lid, then simmer for 3 hours or until tender. The cheeks should be tender but firm enough to stay intact. To test this, squeeze the cheek - if it's soft but doesn't fall apart, it's ready.

Remove cheeks from sauce and place in a small baking tray. Reduce sauce by half and pass through a sieve over cheeks.

Serve with cauliflower puree - spoon some puree into the centre of a plate, place a cheek on the edge of the puree, then spoon a small amount of sauce over.