A great recipe that takes a cheap, lesser used cut of meat and incorporates it into a hearty family favourite.
Ingredients- Serves 6
- 1.5kg ox cheek (braising steak works too!)
- 3 carrots, peeled
- 1/2 leek, trimmed
- Handful of fresh thyme
- 3 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 5g of peppercorns
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 300ml of Stout- I used Guinness Dublin Porter
- 1L chicken stock
- 6 large jacket style potatoes
- 60g of butter
- 100ml of full fat milk
- Preheat the oven to 180°
- Cut the ox cheeks into large pieces and remove any sinew.
- Chop one of the carrots and the trimmed leek into a rough dice. Pick the leaves from the thyme, leaving the remaining sprigs whole. Set these aside in a bowl.
- Add a drizzle of vegetable oil into a frying pan over a medium heat and add the onions. Fry gently for around 20 minutes until caramelised and set aside.
Tip: Don’t season the onions; this will help them colour quicker.
- Thinly slice the 2 remaining carrots into rounds. Add a dash of vegetable oil to a large pan and place over a high heat. Add the carrots, season with salt.
- Cook for 2 minutes, then turn the heat down to medium and continue cooking, stirring regularly, until the carrots just start to soften. Set aside.
- Poke holes into your potatoes with a fork and microwave each one for 5 minutes each (you can do two at a time). Put a layer of rock salt onto the base of a baking tray and place the potatoes on top. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, slice in half, scoop out the flesh into a bowl and mash until smooth. Alternatively, pass through a potato ricer.
- Turn the oven up to 220°
- Add the butter and the milk into the potatoes, mash further and season to taste, then set aside.
- Add a splash of vegetable oil into the same large pan you cooked the carrots in (make sure it’s oven proof!) Lightly season the ox cheeks with salt and pepper, place in the pan and colour lightly all over. Remove and set aside.
Tip: For thicker gravy sprinkle your meat with plain flour (around 3tbsp) before browning.
- With the pan back on a medium heat add the roughly chopped carrot and leek from step 3. Stir in the peppercorns and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
- Pour the stout into the pan and allow it to reduce by three quarters.
- Return the ox cheek to the pan with any juices, cover with the stock and bring to a simmer.
- Place a cartouche (baking paper circle with a small central hole) on the surface of the filling and place in the oven for 3 hours until the meat is meltingly tender.
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow the meat to cool before removing and setting aside. Pass the gravy liquid through a sieve into a clean pan and reduce by half.
- Using your fingers shred the meat into strips and combine the meat with the reduced gravy.
- Divide the meat between serving dishes. You can make a family portion or small individual portions.
- Add a layer of the onions, followed by the carrots.
- Pipe the mash to cover the filling, if you don’t want to pipe it you can just spoon it on.
- Place in the oven for 15 minutes until the mash is golden.
- Serve with green, buttered vegetables.