Beef Cheeks with Vanilla

Emma Dean
Cook time 3 to 4 hours or 1 hour and 30 minutes in pressure cooker
Servings 4


2 tbsp flour, combined with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper 4 beef cheeks
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 shallots, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup port
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out
Dash of cognac
1 tsp peppercorns
2 cardamom pods, crushed
2 fresh bay leaves
I litre of beef stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sherry vinegar

Beef Cheeks with Vanilla


Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F).

Sift flour onto a plate. Pat dry the beef cheeks and toss in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium-high saucepan and fry on each side until the colours are brown.

Transfer cheeks into a cast-iron casserole dish. Saute the celery, carrot, shallots and garlic in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, in the same saucepan that the beef cheeks were fried in. Deglaze with the port and pour the mixture into the casserole with the beef cheeks. Add in the remaining ingredients (including vanilla bean and seeds). Add extra water to cover, if required. Place a cartouche (a piece of baking paper, cut to the size of the casserole dish) on the surface of the beef cheeks.

Cover with the lid and cook for 3–4 hours. Alternatively, put in a pressure cooker (without cartouche) and cook at pressure for 1½ hours.

Serve with a side of mashed turnips, swedes and buttered green beans.