Food Opinion

Bourbon Braised Beef Cheeks to tantalise the taste buds

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Megan Jane de Paulo shares a recipe for a mouth-watering dish that is guaranteed to delight the palate and impress your dinner guests.

THIS DISH – like many of my dishes – looks complicated but the cooking processes are pretty straightforward. Braised meat dishes are usually winter/autumn fair, but although rich, this dish is appropriate for spring and cooler summer days.


Bourbon Braised Beef Cheeks with Pistachio, Quandong and Saltbush Crust | Roast potato | Asparagus | White bean purée | Onion with bourbon jus | Black garlic tuile

Bourbon Braised Beef Cheeks with Pistachio, Quandong and Saltbush Crust

  • 2 beef cheeks, trimmed
  • 100ml bourbon
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 500ml beef stock (more may be required depending on size of cheeks)

Season the cheeks with salt.

Sear the beef cheeks in a cast iron skillet until brown.

Remove cheeks and deglaze the pan with bourbon and some water.

Place onion slices and beef stock in a pressure cooker/Instant Pot. Add cheeks and make sure they are covered. Set to pressure cook for 55 minutes.

Remove cheeks from braising liquid and cover with foil to rest.

Pistachio, quandong and saltbush crust

  • 10 pistachio nuts, shelled
  • 5g quandong powder
  • 5g dried saltbush leaves

Pound and grind all ingredients until mixed.

Beef cheek crust

  • beef cheeks, braised and rested
  • prepared crust
  • 60g white miso paste

Slice the beef cheeks into portions.

Spread miso paste on the top of each portion, then press into the crust mix.

Roast at 160ºC for about ten minutes. You want to toast the crust slightly but not overcook the miso or dry out the cheeks.

Bourbon jus

  • 200ml braising liquid
  • 50ml bourbon
  • 10ml soy sauce
  • 15g cornflour

Take 200ml of the braising liquid and reduce in a saucepan.

Add soy sauce.

Place cornflour in a mug and pour over some of the liquid, whisking until smooth to form a sludge.

Pour this back into the main saucepan through a sieve to catch any lumps.

When the jus is at the consistency you like, add bourbon and stir.


  • 2 brown onions

Slice the onions in half from root to stem. Trim off root ends,

You want to remove the mid layers to use as they have a nice curve. Set aside the inner and outer layers to use in another dish. Generally, you can get two curved sections from each onion half.

Steam the onion until just soft, but still holding its shape.

Heat up a cast iron skillet and place them cut side down to char the edges. You don’t need oil in the pan you want them to burn somewhat.


  • 1 bunch

Trim ends. If the asparagus is large, gently peel the lower end. Steam until tender.

Roast potatoes

  • 4 potatoes, peeled

Slice potatoes into thick rounds.

Boil until almost soft in very salty water.

Drain, and toss in oil and salt and pepper.

Roast in air fryer or oven until golden.

White bean purée

A rich but quick alternative to potato or cauliflower mash.

  • 400g can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • half a medium shallot, finely diced
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 20ml olive oil
  • 5g garlic powder
  • milk
  • salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a frying pan over low-medium heat. Add diced shallots.

Sweat the shallots.

Add oil.

Add beans and warm through.

Remove from heat.

Add garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Blend until smooth.

Add milk for a thinner consistency. Stir.

Sieve for a smoother texture, removing any skins or large shallot pieces.

Serve warm.

Black garlic tuile

  • 15g butter, melted and cooled
  • 20g plain flour
  • 10g black garlic
  • 5g edible charcoal powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg white

Mix all ingredients into a smooth batter.

Smooth into silicone moulds with an offset spatula and bake for 12-15 minutes at 160ºC.

Remove from mould and cool.

How to plate

Warm the bean purée. Using a large round cookie cutter, place a circle of it in the middle of the plate.

Lay the asparagus across the purée.

Place a portion of crusted beef cheek on top of the asparagus.

Place potato and two or three onion halves around the beef cheek.

Using a small jug and carefully pour the jus into the centres of the onions.


Start with the beef cheek preparation, this will take almost an hour in the pressure cooker.

Potatoes — parboiling.

Bean purée (this can be made in advance, even the day before).

Black garlic tuile — these can be kept for a couple of days in an air-tight container and air-fried warm and crisp before serving.




Megan Jane de Paulo is a Melbourne-based, inner-city latte sipper and social media provocateur. You can follow Megan on Twitter @gomichild.

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