Ox cheek cottage pie

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.

Ox Cheek Cottage Pie

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
500g potatoes
Glass of red wine
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Litre of beef stock
Salt and pepper to season
Grated cheese

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).

Ox cheek cottage pie