Beef cheek daube with fennel

Beef cheek daube with fennel



  • 1 large onion
  • 1carrot 
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) dark rum (not for children)
  • 6 cup (1.5L) red wine (not for children)
  • Zest of 1 lemon & 1 orange, peeled into strips
  • 1.5kg beef cheeks, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 8 small eschalots, peeled, left whole
  • 250g sliced bacon, cut into 3 cm batons
  • 300g small button mushrooms
  • 2 1/2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup (35g) plain flour
  • 3 cups (750ml) organic beef stock
  • 1/2 bunch tarragon, finely chopped
  • Mashed potato, to serve


Combine onion, carrot, fennel, cinnamon, garlic, bay leaves, rum, wine, citrus zest and beef in a bowl. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.

Preheat oven to 160°C. Strain beef mixture, reserving marinade, beef and vegetable mixture separately. Bring marinade to the boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer for 5-6 minutes, skimming impurities from the surface. Strain through a fine sieve.

Heat half oil and half butter in a large heavy-based flameproof casserole over high heat. In batches, sear beef, stirring and tossing frequently, for 5-6 minutes until browned, set aside. Add remaining oil and butter with eschalots, bacon and mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes until vegetables have softened. Add reserved vegetables and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add tomato paste and stir for 1 minute, then stir in flour. Return meat to the pan with marinade and stock, scraping bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to the boil, cover and braise in oven for 2 hours-2 hours 30 minutes or until meat is tender.

Skim fat from surface of beef pan. Strain, returning liquid to pan and set aside beef and vegetables in a bowl. Return pan to medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes to reduce and thicken sauce. Return beef to the sauce with tarragon and return to a simmer. Serve with mashed potato.

Rebecca Sansotta

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