Red and white wine braised beef cheeks

Red and white wine braised beef cheeks

Taste of Australia
20 mins
Cooking time
385 mins
Stuart Scott

When I cooked in the beautiful grounds of Petersons winery in Armidale, I was told these beef cheeks from chef Melissa Darmanin are one of her most popular dishes. While she likes to use tomato paste (concentrated tomato purée), I find tomato passata (puréed tomatoes) gives a lighter end product.


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
4 beef cheeks, trimmed of all fat and sinew
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 small carrots, cut into 1 cm dice
1 1/2 celery stalks, cut into 1 cm dice
2 small bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
100g button mushrooms
160ml tomato passata
310ml red wine
310ml good-quality beef stock
125g cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley
40g freshly grated parmesan, (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C.
  2. Place the oil in a flameproof casserole dish or heavy-based ovenproof pan over high heat until it begins to smoke. Place the seasoned beef cheeks in to brown and seal, approximately 30–40 seconds each side. Remove and set aside. Reduce the heat to low, add the onion and cook for 5–10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and add the carrots, celery, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and button mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato passata, red and white wine and stock. Stir well and reduce the heat to very low. Add the beef cheeks with any juice to the casserole, arranging evenly and making sure the cheeks are covered with the sauce. Grind some black pepper in but do not season with salt until the end.
  4. Place the lid on the casserole and cook in the oven for 5–6 hours, checking each hour. If necessary, splash with a little extra liquid. In the last hour of cooking add the cherry tomatoes and the brown sugar. Stir through the chopped parsley just before serving.
  5. The beef cheeks are ready when they fall apart when cut with a butter knife. The sauce should be thickened, not watery. If not, remove the beef cheeks to a warm place, put the dish on top of the stove and boil to reduce and thicken the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  6. Serve the beef cheeks with mashed potato, or a garlic and chive mash with lots of grated parmesan, if using, over the top.


  • A big powerful dish like this needs a big powerful wine, so try shiraz, durif or zinfandel.
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