Mrs Bainbridge's cottage pie

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Richard Bainbridge pays homage to his mum with this cheffy cottage pie. Bainbridge updates the recipe using unctuous braised ox cheek instead of mince and a rich potato mousse instead of mashed potato.

First published in 2018




Ox cheek

Potato mousse

  • 500g of potatoes
  • 250g of cream
  • 60g of butter
  • 375g of chicken stock
  • 10g of salt
  • 1.7g of xanthan gum

Shallot rings


  • Siphon bottle or cream whipper
  • Deep fat fryer
  • Blender
  • 10cm ring mould


2 days before you plan to serve the dish, place the trimmed ox cheeks in a large non-reactive bowl or tray and add the vegetables and spices. Cover with the red wine and set aside in the fridge to marinate for 24 hours
The day before you plan to serve the dish, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Strain the ox cheeks and vegetables, reserving the wine. Place a frying pan over a high heat, add a dash of oil to the pan and season the ox cheeks well with salt. Sear on both sides – once golden brown, transfer to a heavy-based ovenproof pan. Sear the vegetables in a dash of oil until golden, then add to the pan with the ox cheek
Pour the red wine into a large saucepan and reduce by three-quarters. Pour over the ox cheeks and vegetables and set aside
Spread the spelt flour out over a baking tray and bake for approximately 5–10 minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle over the ox cheeks and lower the oven temperature to 120°C/gas mark ½
  • 150g of spelt flour
Top up the dish containing the ox cheeks with water or veal stock and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight-fighting lid or foil, place the dish in the oven and cook for 3–4 hours, or until the ox cheeks are starting to fall apart
  • 3l water, or veal stock (you might not need all of it)
Remove from the oven and allow the cheeks to cool in the liquid. Once cool, place in the fridge overnight
On the day you plan to serve the dish, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the potatoes and boil in their skins until soft (approximately 20 minutes). Drain the potatoes and leave to cool
Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel away and discard the skins. Add the cream, butter, stock and salt to a large pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Place the potatoes in a blender and blend on a medium speed. Slowly stream in the warmed cream mixture until the potatoes have a custardy consistency. Add the xanthan gum and blend well. Season to taste
  • 1.7g of xanthan gum
  • 250g of cream
  • 60g of butter
  • 375g of chicken stock
  • 10g of salt
Transfer the potato mixture into an espuma gun and charge 3 times. Place in a pan of warm water to keep warm until ready to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Remove the ox cheeks from the jellied sauce, cut into even portions and place in a heavy-bottomed dish. Transfer the remaining sauce to a pan, bring to the boil then pass through a sieve into a clean pan and continue to reduce to a rich, thick, sauce consistency. Pour the sauce over the cheeks and place in the oven for 10–20 minutes to heat through. Season to taste
To prepare the shallot rings, preheat a deep-fryer or deep pan of oil to 190°C
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Season the flour liberally with salt and pepper. Peel the shallot and slice horizontally into thin rounds. Push the centre of each round to separate into rings, toss the rings in the seasoned flour and deep-fry until golden and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside
For the kale, discard any large or tough stalks and roughly chop the leaves. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the kale for a minute until soft, then plunge into iced water. When ready to serve, heat a knob of butter in a pan and add the drained kale, cooking until warmed through. Season to taste
To serve, add a portion of the ox cheek to each bowl. Pipe some of the potato foam to one side and place the kale on the other. Top with crispy shallot rings and micro coriander shoots and serve

With a background in classical cooking in Michelin-starred kitchens, Richard Bainbridge returned to his home city of Norwich to open Benedicts, a renowned restaurant which serves Norfolk produce cooked with passion, playfulness and creativity.

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