Braised ox cheek with mushrooms and blue cheese by Ally McGrath of Osso Restaurant in Peebles

This recipe is a real winter warmer. The ox cheeks have such an amazing flavour and are really easy to cook with – they just take a bit of time to cook, but it’s worth the wait. This dish was created by what you might call a happy accident, and it worked out brilliantly. The blue cheese was meant for something else and I put it in the wrong pot! As there isn’t a lot of cheese, the flavour is only a very subtle tang at the end, and it’s delicious.  

Time to prepare: 30 minutes
Time to cook: 3-3½ hours 

Ingredients: Serves 8-10 
1.6kg ox cheek, trimmed and cut into quarters
1kg button mushrooms
450g shallots
15g thyme
100g blue cheese
500ml red wine
2.5 litres beef stock
250ml port
A head of garlic
200g celery, roughly chopped
350g carrot, roughly chopped

1 In a deep pan, warm some oil and seal the ox cheeks in small batches to brown for 3-4 minutes. Remove the meat and leave it to drain in a colander.
2 Chop the mushrooms into quarters and add them to the pan, and cook out until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove the meat from the pan, and reserve it for later.
3 Add some fresh oil and sweat off the shallots. Once soft, add the celery, carrot, garlic and thyme, and cook for a few minutes.
4 Pour in the red wine and port, and reduce by two thirds. Next, add the stock and bring it to the boil. Add the meat and cook it at a slow simmer for 3 to 3½ hours, topping up with water as required.
5 Pick out the meat, and strain the sauce into a clean pan. Now add the cheese and mushrooms to the sauce and season, then add the meat before serving. 

In association with Taste Communications.