Mother's Day | Beef Cheeks in Sweet Sherry and Spices, Celeriac Mash, Charred Hispi Cabbage

by MasterChef's James Bacon @jamesbaconcooks

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, its that on Mother’s day, no mum should lift a finger, especially in the kitchen! So why not try this amazing slow cooked dish full of flavour? It is so unbelievably soft and tender and as it cooks low and slow, the house will fill the spicy sweet aromas of cinnamon, star anise and clove. Delicious!

Kitchen tools needed: Cole and Mason Saunderton herb and spice shaker, stock pot, frying pan, food processor colander, tongs, spice grater.

Prep: 30 mins

Cook: 4 hr. 30 mins

Difficulty: Easy

Serves: 4


Ingredients for the beef cheeks

  • 2 large beef cheeks
  • 250ml of sweet sherry (I use Pedro Ximenez for its unique raisin flavour)
  • 100ml of red wine
  • 5 medium banana shallots, halved and sliced lengthways
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 anchovies (this adds depth but zero flavour of fish!)
  • a good shake of cinnamon from the Cole & Mason Saunderton spice shaker
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • a good shake of Thyme from the Saunderton Herb shaker (1/2 tsp)
  • 1tbs tomato puree
  • 1tbs miso paste
  • 800ml of beef stock
  • bone marrow from one bone cut lengthways (optional but adds an incredible richness to this dish)
  • 2tbsp of olive oil

Ingredients for the celeriac mash

  • 1 large celeriac peeled and chopped in to 2” pieces
  • 50g of butter
  • a good pinch of sea salt
  • a small pinch of white pepper
  • grated nutmeg to taste (start off with a small amount and taste as you can always add more)

Ingredients for the charred hispi cabbage:

  • 1 hispi or heart shape cabbage quartered lengthways
  • 2tsp olive oil
  • knob of butter
  • sea salt to season


1. Pre heat oven to 150 degrees (140 degrees for fan, gas mark 2)
2. Heat a large stock pot with the oil and sear the beef cheeks until
browned well on all sides and then remove from the pan and set aside on
a plate.
3. Using the same pot, add the shallots and cook until soft then add the
garlic, anchovies, tomato puree and miso and cook for a couple of
minutes (try to break the anchovies up to a paste while cooking).Add the
Pedro Ximenez and red wine to deglaze the pan - of all the sticky bits
and reduce by a third. Add the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, bay leaves
and thyme and cook until aromatic.
4. Reintroduce the beef cheeks to the pot with any juices (and the bone
marrow if using), cover with the veal or beef stock and bring to the boil,
then reduce the heat. Place the lid on the stock pot tightly (you can add a
sheet of kitchen foil over before the lid to make it a tighter seal) and place
in the over for 4 1/2 hours.
5. Now for the sides, with around 1/2 hour to go, bring a pan of salted water
to the boil and cook the celeriac until soft and tender (about 9 mins) drain
and leave to dry. You can use this time to steam the hispi cabbage, I use
a bamboo steamer but you can use a basket steamer, place the cabbage
quarters cut side down and steam until just tender about 5 mins, set
6. Add the celeriac to a food processor with the butter and blend until
smooth, season with the salt, white pepper and small amount of nutmeg
to taste and return to the pan to keep warm.
7. Before you finish the cabbage it’s time to take the beef cheeks out,
remove them gently, they will fall apart but try to keep them as whole as
possible and rest on a plate. Place the pot over a high heat to reduce the
cooking liquor to a rich sauce, once you’ve reached the consistency you
like, taste for seasoning (salt and pepper) and then gently add the beef
cheeks, cover in the sauce and pop the lid on to keep warm.
8. Warm the celeriac if need and then take a large frying pan and heat the
oil and butter, add the hispi cabbage cut side down and fry until dark and
9. To plate, spoon a generous amount of the celeriac mash in the centre of
the plate and push the back of a spoon in to it to create a well, place a
piece of cabbage next to it and then finally spoon some of the beef cheek
in the well and any sauce over the cabbage.
10. Enjoy and collect the brownie points at a later date!

TIP: If using the bone marrow, roast in the oven on a tray for 30 mins before, separate the marrow and place in a bowl (discard the bone)

The serving board every kitchen needs for expert entertaining. Choose from small, medium and large to present your best culinary creations.