Braised Ox Cheeks with Mashed Potato

Posted By Kerri


At the threat of angering our vegetarian readers even further (not that I realised we had any until today), today we cooked some ox cheeks.

I first saw ox cheeks in Waitrose a few weeks ago and had wanted to use them in a pie but they didn’t have any left when I went back to buy them. It’s taken me a while to track them down since and, having already satisfied our craving for pie, we decided to casserole them. Today actually felt much more like barbecue weather than the winter-warmer that is casserole but since we had been marinating these since last night we continued with our original plan.

We found this recipe which includes ox cheeks but paired with beef fillet. The recipe also called for the use of commercial vaccuum bags, litres of veal stock and a smoker, none of which we had so we ignored all of that and simply did the following, which is a cut-down version which turned out very well. There is still a requirement to marinate overnight though, which meant some forward planning. Also there is a the small matter of 3 and a half hours cooking time.

2 ox cheeks
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
a few peppercorns
375ml port
500ml red wine
1 litre beef stock

Pour the port, wine, celery, carrots, onion, bay, peppercorns and thyme into a large bowl. Add the ox cheeks, then cover and marinate in the fridge overnight.

Then remove the ox cheeks from the marinade and strain the marinade, keeping both the marinade liquid and also the vegetables and herbs. Heat some oil in a flameproof casserole or large, heavy-based saucepan and brown the ox cheeks all over. Then remove them and fry the reserved vegetables for a few minutes. When they are softened, add the marinade liquid and boil until it has reduced in volume by half. Then add the beef stock and the ox cheeks and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 3 and a half hours.

After this time, the ox cheeks should be really soft. Remove them and turn up the heat to reduce the cooking liquor. This took ages for us and didn’t thicken at all, so when it had reduced enough to concentrate the flavour a bit, we thickened it with some cornflour. After the waiting for the sauce to reduce, the ox cheeks were cold too, so we added them back into the sauce for a while to warm them back up before serving.

The ox cheeks were really good; the meat had a nice crust to it from the initial browning and the slow cooking meant they were meltingly tender. The sauce had a huge amount of flavour too considering there were very few ingredients used. The picture shows just one of the cheeks, we actually ate two between us although the second was smaller. A definite winner and would be perfect in a pie.

Mar 15th, 2009

7 Comments to 'Braised Ox Cheeks with Mashed Potato'

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  1. Lizzie said,

    Hurrah! A success. It looks gorgeous.

    I always find that reducing takes much longer than most recipes say.

    Were they well priced?

    Lizzie’s last blog post..Pickled Cucumber

  2. Kerri said,

    Thanks Lizzie 🙂

    I didn’t mention the price because I couldn’t remember if they were £3.50 or £5. Good value either way though I think as there was more than enough for two.

  3. Jonathan said,

    Hurray for the ox cheeks. They look awesome. Well done Waitrose. I can’t wait to cook these. Yum.

    Jonathan’s last blog post..Tiroler Hut

  4. Becky said,

    These look fantastic & your description of making my mouth water definitely something I will be keeping and eye out for but might have to wait til the winter since spring is here

  5. Doug Weller said,

    Made them today, absolutely delicious. I wish I’d seen them at Waitrose as I got them from Donald Russell, £23 for 2 packs each of 2 cheeks. And the cost of the Port and wine make this an expensive dish anyway. I only used about 200 ml of (expensive) port as that’s all I had left. Oh, and I didn’t use carrot. Because I had a hard time with the hob getting it to simmer and not boil, myh timing would be diffferent – took about 4 1/2 hours in all.

  6. Kerri said,

    Ouch, Doug, that is expensive 🙁

    We used to have the same problem with simmering, even on the smallest burner but use a heat diffuser now. It’s brilliant at reducing the heat so you can simmer for a long time.

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