Slow-cooked braised ox cheeks in red wine

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Here's a dish that will become a slow cooker favourite: ox cheeks slowly braised with vegetables and red wine. It's the perfect do-it-ahead recipe if you are having friends over. Tess shows how easy it is to prepare.

First published in 2017

This dish is one of my slow cooker favourites. The perfect do-it-ahead number if you are having friends over. You just need to seal the meat, pop it in the oven to do its business and hey presto... you've got yourself a dinner.

I know ox cheek isn't the easiest ingredient to get hold of, but it is worth trying, if you can. If not, feel free to substitute the meat for shin of beef or venison stewing steak. Here's a complete guide to beef cuts to help you decide. I served mine with soft buttery polenta.

You can also use pre-made mulled wine, instead of basic red wine.




Ox cheeks and vegetables


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
First published in 2017

Tess Ward is a freelance cook, caterer, food writer and budding TV chef.

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