Ox cheeks (A.K.A. beef cheeks) are an economical cut and packed with flavour. They need to be cooked low and slow for the best results ether in the oven or in a slow cooker. This is a perfect dish to cook ahead of time. Just add some creamy mash potatoes and you have a really tasty, rich, comforting meal.

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Allow about 40 minute to prepare the ingredients and 4 hours cooking time. Quantities below will serve 6 people.

Ingredients For Slow Cooked Ox Cheeks

3 Ox cheeks, from Morley Butchers
Plain flour for dusting
150g smoked bacon from Morley Butchers
Vegetable oil for frying
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 Large carrot diced or grated
2 Sticks celery finely chopped
1 Bay leaf
3 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 Large glasses red wine
Freshly ground pepper and salt for seasoning

Cooking Method For Slow Cooked Ox Cheeks

Pre-heat your oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. (skip this if you are using a slow cooker). This disk is best cooked in a large casserole with a lid  that will fit the ingredients snugly.

To prepare the meats, cut away any sinuous material and then slice each ox cheek into large even 3 cm chunks season with salt and pepper. Also remove any rind from your bacon and slice into large lardons.

Dredge the beef cubes in the flour and fry in some hot oil. Turn the meat until brown on all sides. You may need to do this in batches so the pan stays hot.  Put to one side in a bowl. Add the lardons and again fry until coloured add to the same bowl as the ox cheeks.

The next step is to soften the vegetables. (NB If the pan has a brown residue use the same pan and keep all the meaty flavours; if however it is blackened, clean first as the char will impart an unpleasant taste to the finished dish.) On a reduced heat add the vegetables and cook for several minutes until they are soft and translucent.

Stir in the tinned tomato and use the liquid to deglaze the pan bottom, add the meat plus any juices from the bowl then add the wine. Add your bay leaf. Top up the liquids with water or even better beef or chicken stock so the the meat is completely covered. Gently bring the pan back to the boil.

Remove from the heat and place in the oven with the lid on cooking for 4 hours or until the meat is tender. Check during cooking to make sure that there is enough liquid covering the beef. To see when ready test with a fork or knife point and you will see when then meat is loosened but not actually falling apart.

Serve the ox cheeks with a smooth mash and some seasonal green vegetables.