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Braised British ox cheeks

Braised British ox cheeks

Until recently, ox cheeks had been largely consigned to the ‘forgotten cuts’ corner. Happily they’re appearing on more menus now and butchers are selling them in their own right, not simply throwing them in with the beef mince. Ox cheeks need long, slow braising in good quality stock to bring out their best – rich beefy, meltingly tender meat. 

Recipe from The Great British Celebration book, produced in association with the Craft Guild of Chefs.

Serves 4.


  • 2 ox cheeks, trimmed of fat
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 250ml red wine
  • 50g tomato purée
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 small leek, trimmed and diced
  • 2 smoked bacon rashers, cut into lardons
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 60g cold butter
  • 50g fresh horseradish, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 tbsp horseradish sauce
  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • selection of broad beans, fresh peas, asparagus tips, baby carrots and spring onions
  • 30g butter


  • Cut each ox cheek into two portions. Heat half of the oil in a pan and sear the cheeks for a couple of minutes on each side until browned. Remove the cheeks and deglaze the pan with the red wine. Boil until the liquid has reduced in half. Stir in the tomato purée.
  • Heat the remaining oil in an ovenproof dish and cook the onions, carrots, leek and bacon for a few minutes, then add the rosemary, bay leaf, beef stock and reduced wine mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the beef cheeks to the ovenproof dish, cover and cook for 2½ hours at 140ºC, or until the beef is very tender.
  • To make the dumplings: mix all the ingredients together, rubbing the butter into the flour, adding a few spoonful of water to bring everything together. Roll into 4 balls. Add the dumplings to the ox cheeks and cook, uncovered, for a further 25-30 minutes, adding more stock if necessary.
  • For the vegetables: trim or cut each vegetable and blanch in boiling water until tender. Melt the butter in a pan and gently toss the vegetables to coat in the butter. Season with salt and pepper.
  • To serve, set each ox cheek portion in a deep bowl, surrounded with the sauce and vegetables and topped with a horseradish dumpling.