Sunday, 2nd February 2020 – Recipes (Ox Cheek and Vegetables)
On my way home from one of the three WSET Level 2 in Wine training days I stopped off at the small market that has sprung up off Coal Drops Yard, in front of the Waitrose supermarket looking for supplies of raw or cultured butter (don’t ask!). While there I also discovered a butcher selling some fabulous meat. I resolved to call in again, and did so on my final day, buying a kilo of beef cheeks that looked like they might be just the thing for a winter Sunday!
What to do with them though? A bit of digging around and I found this!
Ox Cheek and Vegetables
- 3 ox cheeks
- 100g of plain flour, seasoned with a generous grinding of salt
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp of tomato purée
- 1 dash of brandy
- 500ml of red wine
- 1 clove
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 750ml of beef stock, or chicken stock if you prefer
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 star anise
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 anchovies
- black pepper
- Trim any excess fat off the ox cheeks and place this fat into a large pan. Place over a moderate heat and allow the fat to melt and render down.
- While this is happening, cut each cheek into six even pieces and dust lightly and evenly with the seasoned flour.
- Once the fat has completely rendered down, increase the heat and add the ox cheeks to the hot fat, browning all over until dark and golden. You may need to add a little extra oil if the pan is too dry. Remove the cheeks from the pan and set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2.
- Add the chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic to the same pan over a moderate-low heat and sweat down in the residual fat until soft and lightly caramelised.
- Increase the heat and add the meat back to the pan along with the tomato purée. Mix together so that the ox cheeks and vegetables are coated in the purée and cook out for 2–3 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the brandy, scraping the base of the pan to mix in all the caramelised meat and vegetables. Add the red wine, clove, cinnamon, beef stock, thyme, star anise, bay leaves and anchovies, then bring everything to the boil.
- Cover the pan with a lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
- After this time check the meat to ensure the cheeks are very tender, but not falling apart. Return to the oven, turn off the heat and leave to sit for 30 minutes for the flavours to improve.
- To serve, reheat either in the oven or on the stove and season to taste, serve hot with mashed potato and leeks.
I cooked this for at least an hour longer than the recipe says and the result was spectacular!