This is such a simple dish with few ingredients that really makes an impact. It is excellent for batch cooking and the good news is that a little goes a long way so this feeds a lot of people. My recipe here is for the Instant Pot but it can be slow cooked on the hob or in the oven (see my notes at the end).
I am a huge fan of ox cheek. It is relatively cheap but has the most wonderful flavour and texture. It has to be cooked for a long time but using the pressure cooker means it is done in a fraction of the time.
You want a good Italian red wine for this dish and I absolutely adore Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. Lidl do one that’s exceptional value for the quality at £3.99. This recipe uses half a bottle which means there’s enough for a glass or two for the cook!
This has become a favourite dish in our household and is often on the menu, most recently as part of an Italian-themed dinner party.
Serve with a pasta of your choice and some freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3-4 celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
- 2 ox cheeks, cut in to large pieces (about 2 inches)
- 500g passata
- 375ml Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (Italian red wine)
- Salt and pepper
Step 1: Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode. When hot, add the oil, celery and onion, and stir frequently for five minutes.
Step 2: Add the garlic and ox cheek pieces. Stir frequently for a couple of minutes until the cheeks are browned slightly.
Step 3: Add the rosemary, passata, wine and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Stir.
Step 4: Switch sauté mode off and replace the lid. Ensure the vent is set to sealing.
Step 5: Select manual, high pressure and set for 35 minutes. Allow it to depress naturally.
Step 6: Remove the lid and take out the cheek pieces and shred with a fork.
Step 7: Return the shredded meat to the pot, leave the lid off and set back on sauté and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, and season to taste.
This is wonderfully rich and a little goes a long way. An Instant Pot ladleful per person (or three or four tablespoons of the sauce) stirred into freshly cooked pasta should do it. I portion this up and freeze for a quick and very satisfying meal.
If you are not using the Instant Pot, it is possible to achieve the same results in the oven or on the hob. Steps 1-3 should be done in a casserole dish on the hob, replace steps 4 and 5 with cooking on a low heat (lid on) either on the hob or oven (150c) for three to four hours. Step 6 remains as is whilst step 7 should be done on the hob, with the lid off.