The fruit puree and grapes balance the richness of the meltingly tender beef cheeks.






Skill level

No votes yet


Beef cheeks

  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 carrot, cut in quarters lengthways
  • 1 celery stick, cut in half
  • 500 ml red wine
  • 1 L beef stock
  • 250 ml apricot nectar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ bunch thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary 
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 4 beef cheeks (1.6-2 kg)
  • About 30 seedless grapes (a mix of red and green), cut in half, to serve
  • Micro herbs, to garnish, optional­­­

Pome fruit puree

  • 300 g diced pear (see Note)
  • 300 g diced apple (see Note)
  • 120 g sugar
  • 75 ml water
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar
  • 50 ml apple juice
  • ¼ tbsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp cardamon pods
  • ½ tsp whole allspice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10 sprigs thyme
  • 0.5 g saffron threads
  • 25 ml fresh lemon juice, strained


  • 250 ml red wine
  • 150 ml apricot nectar
  • 250 ml beef jus

Nut Mix

  • 100 g salted cashews
  • 50 g blanched almonds
  • 15 g dates, chopped
  • 15 g dried cranberry, chopped 
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 4 sprigs thyme, chopped
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes
  • ¼ tsp white pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Standing time: 1 hour

Preheat oven to 140°C.

To braise the cheeks: Saute onion and garlic for a few minutes, then add carrot and celery. Deglaze with red wine, then cook until reduced by half (5-10 minutes). While the red wine and mirepoix is reducing, bring the beef stock, apricot nectar, brown sugar, thyme, rosemary, star anise and seasoning to the boil in a braising dish. Add the red wine and mirepoix, carefully add the beef cheeks, then lay a sheet of baking paper over the top of the beef cheeks and wrap tray with foil. Cook for 3 hours on 140°C. The beef cheeks should then be soft to touch with a pair of tongs; if so remove from the oven and stand for 1 hour in the braising liquor. If not quite tender, you may need to cook the cheeks for up to another hour.

For the pome fruit puree: Place apple and pear in a saucepan with the remaining puree ingredients, except the lemon juice. Cook over a medium heat until soft and stew-like. Most of the liquid should have reduced. If the fruit is soft, the liquid has reduced and the fruit is thick enough that it holds its place in the pot when you drag your wooden spoon through, add the lemon juice. Stir through, then let stand for 5 minutes. Blend cooked fruit mix in a jug blender; once it is pureed then you can pass it through a fine sieve using a whisk or metal spoon to push the mixture through into a bowl. This will make sure the puree is smooth. The pome fruit puree is ready to be served. You can choose to reheat and serve it hot or just warmed through.

For the glaze:  Simmer wine in a small saucepan until reduced by half, then add apricot nectar and beef jus. Simmer for 5 minutes until your sauce has thickened and will coat the back of your spoon. (consistency should resemble a syrup such as maple).

For the nut mix: Pre heat oven to 180°C. Roast nuts in the oven in an tray or oven-proof frying pan or until lightly browned, about  15-20 minutes,  tossing every 5-10minutes to ensure even cooking. Cool for 10 minutes then break roughly either by hand, or using a mortar and pestle. Mix with dried fruit and thyme, then add salt and white pepper to season.

To serve, spoon a little of the fruit puree onto each serving dish. Place a beef cheek (or halved beef cheek, depending on size of the beef cheeks, and the number of people you are serving) on the puree. Spoon over the glaze. Scatter nuts, grapes and herbs, if using, around the beef cheek.


For the fruit puree, peel then dice your fruit into 2cm cubes, ensuring that there is no peel or core remaining.