This recipe came from an idea in the Waitrose Kitchen magazine and the discovery of half a kilo of ox cheeks in the discount section of my local supermarket (£1.78 by the way). I’ve started to look on these shelves on a regular basis. Not necessarily out of necessity, but more out of a desire not to see waste and if I can save money then all the better.
If you have the time (close on four hours), cuts like ox cheek, oxtail and breast of lamb are delicious, frugal and very comforting. The combination of the meat with vegetables from the plot made this dish easily stretch to feed the family with some leftover.
You will need
500g Ox Cheeks
1 finely chopped onion
Stick of celery finely chopped
1 finely chopped leek
1 finely chopped carrot
Small bunch of thyme
1 bay leaf
Glass of red wine
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Litre of beef stock
Salt and pepper to season
Start by trimming any large pieces of fat or sinew from the meat and cutting into large chunks, before tossing in seasoned flour. Brown the meat in a little oil and remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Add the onions, leeks, carrot and celery to the pan and gently cook until soft and the onion is translucent. When the vegetables have softened, add the thyme and the bay leaf, then pour in the wine and allow the alcohol to boil off. Return the browned ox cheeks to the pan and pour in the stock and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Bring the liquid to the boil before placing in a preheated oven (160°C) for three hours. Whilst the meat is cooking peel, boil and mash the potatoes.
After three hours the meat should be super tender and you can pull it apart with a couple of forks. I like to keep a few small pieces, so there is a variety of textures within the meat mix. Construct the cottage pie by putting the meat mix into an ovenproof dish and then topping with mash. Leave some texture on tip, as this helps to get a crispy crust to the mash, and grate a little cheddar or similar cheese over the mash. Place in an oven at (180°C) for 30 minutes, until the top of the mash is browned, then serve with wilted greens (something like the iron rich Cavolo Nero I grow at the plot).
I was brought up on those cheaper cuts, for which I’m always grateful, because I know how delicious they can be. But ox cheek is a new one on me, so I shall look out for it in future. Thanks!
Brilliant recipe! I will try asap. 😀
Thanks. A great cut of meat to use for slow and low cooking.
Exactly, and I like slow and low cooking! 😀
I remember a few years ago trying to buy Ox cheeks and being told that there was no demand for them. How things change. The meat sauce looks really good and I can imagine making up a big batch and then flavouring it different ways much as one might do with mince. A great post.
Thanks. It certainly tasted good as a cottage pie and would be good as a stew too.
I’m so glad you posted this. I was walking about the other week end and saw some lovely ox cheeks at the butchers and said to my husband that I had never cooked it before. Neither had he. And we both would like to try cooking it so I’m going to remember this recipe!
It’s a good one, as long as you have time. It’s a low and slow one. Thanks for the comment.
I’ve never tried ox cheek, but these ‘forgotten’ cuts of meat are making a come back. Your cottage pie looks delicious.
Thanks so much. I’m keen on trying these cheap cuts.
Fantastic recipe definitely awinner
Thanks. Yep, it’s a good one for a cold wet winters day.