Slow-Cooked Ten Hour Beef Cheeks with Plums and Ginger

Serves: 4-6

Slow-Cooked Ten Hour Beef Cheeks with Plums and Ginger
Slow-Cooked Ten Hour Beef Cheeks with Plums and Ginger Slow-Cooked Ten Hour Beef Cheeks with Plums and Ginger

You know autumn has arrived when the Instant Pot gets dusted off and works its magic on these beef cheeks. I love my Instant Pot but rarely use it on the slow cooker setting. I intend to right that wrong this winter so expect a flurry of recipes extolling the virtues of slow-cooked food. If you have an Aga you could cook the beef overnight in the simmering oven. Similarly a conventional oven would cook the cheeks for about 5 hours at 140˚c. The joy of the electric slow-cooker (whichever model you have) is that you can throw everything into the pot, get your eight hours beauty sleep (or put in a day’s work depending on when you start the timer) and wake up in the knowledge that lunch-or supper -is pretty much sorted. After ten hours the plums melt away creating a subtle fruity sauce which compliments and offsets the richness of the beef cheeks.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 980g beef cheeks (cut into 6 x 190g pieces)
  • 6 banana shallots, peeled and halved lengthways
  • 6 large ripe plums, stoned and quartered
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of root ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 600ml beef stock
  • 100ml Shaoxing wine (rice wine) or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour
Slow-Cooked Ten Hour Beef Cheeks with Plums and Ginger


  1. Heat one tablespoon of the oil and brown the beef cheeks in batches for 3-4 minutes each side. Transfer to the slow cooker pot (or ovenproof casserole).
  2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and brown the shallots for about 8-10 minutes. Put them with the beef cheeks and add all the remaining ingredients except the cornflour. Season with a little salt and ground black pepper and secure the lid. Slow cook on the low setting for 10 hours.
  3. At the end of the cooking time the beef should be meltingly tender. Carefully pour the contents of the pot through a colander, reserving the sauce. Place the beef cheeks and shallots in a shallow serving dish, cover with foil and keep warm in a low oven, about fan oven 120˚c, mark 1. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and skim off any fat and scum. Stir over a moderate heat until just below boiling point. Mix the cornflour with 3 tablespoons of water and stir into the hot sauce. Stir until thick and glossy. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  4. To serve, pour the sauce over the beef and serve with mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli or Brussels sprouts.