Hearty Ox Cheek & Lentil Stew

Cooking time
Serves4 people
Hearty Ox Cheek & Lentil Stew

A hearty stew is the perfect dish for chilly autumn and winter days and this casserole stars ox cheeks slowly simmered in a herby beef stock till they're meltingly tender, paired with two types of lentils and a few handfuls of meaty mushrooms to create cosy comfort food the whole family will love.

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  • 3 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 400g chestnut mushrooms
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • A handful of rosemary, leaves only
  • A handful of thyme, leaves only
  • 600g ox cheeks
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 11/2 ltrs boiling water
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 200g dark speckled lentils
  • 100g dried red lentils

Prep: 10 mins | Cook: 3 hrs 20 mins

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1. Peel the onions and thickly slice them. Peel the carrots and chop them into 1cm-thick pieces. Tear the mushrooms in half. Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves. Pick and roughly chop the rosemary and thyme leaves.
2. Sprinkle the ox cheeks with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Pour 1 tbsp oil into a large pan or casserole dish and warm over a medium-high heat. Add the ox cheeks and fry for 6-8 mins, turning once or twice, till browned all over. Scoop the browned ox cheeks out of the pan and onto a plate.
3. Slide the onions, carrots, mushrooms and garlic into the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the rosemary, thyme and drop in 2 bay leaves. Cook for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, till the veg are softened. If the pan seems too dry and the veg stick, add 3-4 tbsp water to loosen the veg. While the veg fry, fill and boil your kettle.
4. Return the ox cheeks to the pan and pour in 11/2 ltrs hot water from the kettle. Crumble in the stock cube and add 1 tbsp Worcester sauce. Stir well to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat under the pan to low so the stew is gently simmering. Pop on a lid and cook for 2 hrs, stirring once or twice. The stew should stay very liquidy, so if the stock has reduced, add a splash more water.
5. After 2 hrs, stir in 200g speckled lentils and 100g dried red lentils. Cook for a further 1 hr, stirring occasionally and making sure the stew still has plenty of liquid, till the ox cheeks are very tender and the lentils are cooked through. When the ox cheeks are cooked, use a couple of forks to break them up into smaller pieces. Taste and season with a little salt and pepper if you think the stew needs it. Ladle the stew into warm bowls and serve straight away, discarding the bay leaves.
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This is one of the best stews I have ever made - I would not have thought of putting red and brown lentils together which was delicious and filling enough on its own with green veg.