slow cooked smokey balsamic beef cheeks

serves 6 - 8 people when served with a side
preparation time
20 minutes
cooking time
8 hours minimum in a slow cooker, up to 14 hours


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 anchovies
  • 3 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup quality balsamic vinegar
  • 500mls beef stock
  • 1.3 kg free range beef cheeks (or 4 cheeks)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large sprigs rosemary


This recipe is made to be cooked overnight in a slow cooker for ease. If you do not own a slow cooker you can cook it in the oven instead. Simply place all ingredients in a large roasting dish and cover. Bake for 4 - 5 hours on 170c until the meat is falling apart. 

Place all ingredients into your slow cooker, besides the beef cheeks. Mix well with a wooden spoon and then place in the beef cheeks to submerge in the liquid.

Cover with the slow cooker lid and leave on low overnight for a minimum of 8 hours, ideally up to 12 - 14 hours if you can. Before serving, shred the beef cheeks roughly with a fork and mix in with the braising liquid. 

Note: If you feel there is too much braising liquid, you can remove the cheeks from the braise and reduce the braising liquid on the stove. This will also intensify the flavour of the braising liquid. Personally, although this is an extra step it's something I generally do. I reduce it by around half and then pour it back in with the meat and mix through. 

Serve with cauilflower and millet mash (I used this recipe by the talented Amy Chaplin) or your favourite mash of choice.