Beat the January blues with a big dish of warming comfort food. This casserole uses ox cheek which is delicious slow cooked, it can be brought from your local butchers and some branches of Waitrose.
- 1kg (2¼lb) ox cheek (usually 3 cheeks) or 1 whole piece of chuck or braising steak
- 1 rounded tablespoon plain flour
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 red onions, peeled and cut into quarters or if large, 6 wedges
- 500g (1lb) large Chantenay carrots, trimmed and washed, halved lengthways if fat
- 100g (3½oz) bacon lardons or 4 streaky bacon rashers
- 200ml (7fl oz) red wine — a good, full-bodied one
- About 600ml (1 pint) hot beef stock
- 1 bay leaf
- A few sprigs of thyme
Set the oven to Gas Mark 2 or 150°C. Trim any fat (but not the white bits) from the ox cheeks or braising steak. Mix the flour and some seasoning on a plate. Use to coat the meat. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the meat and brown it for a few mins on both sides.
Put the meat in a casserole dish. Add the onion wedges, carrots and bacon to the pan with more oil and cook for about 5-8 mins until browning.
Pour in the wine and then the stock. Add the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme. Put the lid on the casserole and cook for 4-5 hours, to make sure the meat is really tender. Check on it occasionally.
Top tip for making Really meaty casserole
Serve this casserole with mash mixed with leeks or watercress, if you like.