Shiraz and aniseed beef cheeks

Adam Liaw
Shiraz and aniseed beef cheeks.
Shiraz and aniseed beef cheeks. Photo: William Meppem

Beef cheeks are ideal for slow cooking because the strong muscle contains lots of connective tissue. This means that when it breaks down into gelatine, the beef and its sauce develop a rich and sticky deliciousness.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

6 beef cheeks (about 1.5 kg)

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 brown onion, peeled and diced

1 stalk celery, diced

3 cloves garlic

2 tomatoes, chopped

3 star anise

750ml Australian shiraz

750ml beef stock

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp red wine vinegar

Method

1. Heat your oven to 150C fan-forced (160C conventional). Heat a large, lidded casserole over high heat and add the oil. Fry the beef cheeks in batches until well-browned all over. Remove from the pot. Add the carrot, onion and celery to the pot and fry over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and fry for a minute or two, until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes and star anise and return the cheeks to the pot. Add half the wine and all of the beef stock.

2. Cover with a cartouche of baking paper and cover the pot with its lid. Transfer to the oven for 3 hours. Remove the cheeks from the casserole and strain the liquid into a smaller pot.

3. Reduce the liquid by half, add the remaining wine, then reduce again to the consistency of a sauce. Vigorously stir the butter into the hot sauce until it's glossy, then add the red wine vinegar just before serving. Pour the sauce over the cheeks. This is delicious with pureed carrot and a simple green salad.