Chef's Recipes

Braised beef cheeks in sarsaparilla

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for braised beef cheeks in sarsaparilla by Daniel Hong from Sydney restaurant Lotus.

By Dan Hong
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 5 hrs 50 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
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Braised beef cheeks in sarsaparilla
Don’t be put off by the use of a soft drink as a braising liquid. The aniseed flavour in the sarsaparilla or ‘root beer’ gives this dish a real depth of flavour.


  • 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
  • 4 large beef cheeks, trimmed
  • 250 gm golden shallots (about 12), peeled
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
Braising liquor
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 10 cm piece of ginger, sliced
  • 1¼ litres (5 cups) sarsaparilla
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 80 ml (¾ cup) soy sauce
  • 50 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 6 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 160C. For braising liquor, heat oil in an ovenproof saucepan, add onion, garlic and ginger and cook over high heat until caramelised (10-15 minutes). Add remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes over low heat to infuse flavours.
  • 2
    Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add oil, season beef cheeks to taste with sea salt and sear until browned (4-5 minutes each side). Add to braising liquor, cover with baking paper and foil and braise in oven until very tender and soft to touch (4-5 hours). Cool in liquor before removing beef cheeks from the pan.
  • 3
    Pass liquor through a fine sieve into a saucepan, skim fat from the surface, bring to the boil, add shallots and cook over high heat until reduced by half and onions are tender (14-15 minutes). Return beef to liquor to warm through, garnish with green onion and serve with <a href="vietnamesestyle_red_rice.htm">red rice</a> and <a href="kohlrabi_salad.htm">kohlrabi salad</a>.


Drink Suggestion: Côtes du Rhône or an aromatic and spicy grenache blend such as Domaine de Beaurenard Côtes du Rhône. Drink suggestion by Franck Moreau

  • undefined: Dan Hong