Last night was my second ever Oxford supperclub, held at my mums house. One the menu?! Yep, you guessed it. Ox cheeks…. Slow cooked, tender as butter and melt in the mouth. I was certainly hoping they would succeed in pleasing our local diners.
It is always a delight to share my food and last night was no exception We had such a great group of friends, strangers and neighbours share the dining table. Everyone was so enthusiastic about meeting new people and trying new food… and all it took was the pop of a wine cork to get the festive merriment underway. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and getting into the christmas spirit. I have no doubt that this little bowl of love (which I dished up for the main course) will have helped.
This dish is one of my slow cooker favourites. Its a real christmas cracker! 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. You can also use basic red wine, instead of mulled wine… If you do this add 1 whole clove and 1/2 tsp cinnamon to the pot, for added depth of flavour.
I served mine with soft buttery Polenta… if you want to see me making it live, check out my first ever (ultra embarrassing) cooking video here.
Also if you need a little pudding inspiration. Something cheap, quick and lip-smackingly good, be sure check out my four-ingredient, Cheats Chocolate Tart. There is even a video to go with it… Please do leave your comments below, I love to hear what you think of the recipes and do excuse me whilst I pop off and watch Homeland…. Enjoy the the rest of your sunday
Slow-cooked Ox Cheeks in Mulled Wine Recipe
Try to get organic or pasture raised ox cheeks if you can as the meat is far higher in nutrition, beneficial omega 3 fats. It also has a lot better flavour too.
- 3 ox cheeks, trimmed
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 sticks celery, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- a dash brandy
- 500ml mulled wine
- 750ml beef stock, you could use chicken if you prefer
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 2 tbs concentrated tomato puree
- 2 anchovies, drained
- 100g white spelt flour, seasoned with a generous grinding of salt
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Flat Leaf Parsley, to serve.
Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees celsius
Trim excess fat of the ox cheeks and render in a hot frying pan.
Cut each cheek into 6 pieces. Dust each piece in the seasoned flour, lightly coating it.
Render the chopped off fat in a large stock pot over a medium/high heat. Brown the ox cheeks in the pan with the rendered fat, add a little oil if needed.
Once the meat is nicely browned, remove from the pan and set aside.
Slice the onions, carrots and celery over a medium/ low heat, until soft.
Once the veg is soft, increase the heat and add the meat back to the pan, with the tomato puree. Mix to coat the ox cheeks and veg in the puree. cook until slightly darkens and coats the meat in a sticky tomato glaze.
Deglaze the pot with the brandy, swirl in the pan, then add the wine and stock, thyme and anchovies.
Bring to the wine and stock to the boil. Cover the pot with a lid and put it in the oven to cook for 2 1/2 hours.
After 2 1/2 hours check the meat. Turn off the oven and leave it to sit for half an hour in the hot oven. (Leaving the meat to rest makes the meat fibers relax for an even softer texture. Re-heat before eating if needed.
I served this dish with my easy speedy Mashed Potato, for ultimate comfort. If you wanted to cut back on carbs, you could make a swap to celeriac, or even opt for the more nutrition alternative of sweet potato.