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Recipe Category: Main Courses

Shiraz Beef Cheeks with Parsnip Pear Puree

Meltingly rich slow cooked beef cheeks over a creamy puree with the sweetness of pear.

Serves: 6
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours slow cooking
  • 1 leek
  • 1.2 kg beef cheeks, trimmed of sinew
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup pure olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery and leaves, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 1/2 cups shiraz
  • 12 pitted prunes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ bunch fresh thyme, tied with string
  • 50g butter
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, halved
  • 1 kg parsnips, peeled
  • 2 pears, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2-3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 50g butter

Cut a 10cm length of the white part of the leek. Cut in half, peel into leaves and finely slice into strips. Reserve the strips for frying as a garnish*, and slice the rest of the leek. Season beef cheeks with salt and pepper. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large heavy based casserole dish and brown on both sides. Remove. Add remaining oil and sauté sliced leek, celery, carrot and garlic for 5 minutes. Deglaze pan with shiraz. Return beef cheeks to pan with prunes, bay leaf and thyme and bring to the boil. Place a cartouche (piece of baking paper cut to fit the shape of the pot), directly on top of the beef cheeks. Cover and slow cook in the oven at 150°C for 2 1/2-3 hours until very tender. Simmer uncovered on stovetop for 5-10 minutes if needed, until sauce has reduced and thickened. Stir in butter**. Serve cheeks with sauce over Parsnip Pear Puree, sprinkled with hazelnuts and Crispy Fried Leek and extra thyme for garnish.


Chop parsnips and pears and combine with garlic, 2 cups stock and salt in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes until very tender, adding more stock if needed. Puree using a hand held blender or food processor and mix in butter, pureeing until smooth. Season to taste and serve as a side.



Heat extra light olive oil or canola oil and quickly fry strips of leek until golden. Drain on absorbent paper and use as a garnish. The leeks can be fried up to 1 hour in advance.

Add a few squares of dark chocolate to the sauce at the end, for depth of flavour. If you do this, you may not need as much butter at the end.

Recipe Type: Casserole, Slow Cooked

Author: Naomi Crisante
Date Created: 20/05/2020