Tag Archives: spice

Recipe of the Week: Slow Spiced Ox Stew

Slow Spiced Ox Stew

Enjoy time with friends and family by slow cooking….just a few minutes preparation, then relax while it cooks to perfection.

With melt-in-the-mouth texture and gorgeous flavours, this stew is well worth the wait!

Slow Spiced Ox Stew

  • Servings: 8
  • Print

Calories 564 per portion
Fat 38g (17g sat) per portion
Suitable for freezing


  • Rapeseed oil 2 tbsp
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Plain flour 2 rounded tbsp
  • Ox cheeks 4 approx. 1.9kg (4lb 4oz)
  • Onions 2, peeled and each cut into 6 wedges
  • Carrots 2 large, peeled and cut into 1cm (½in) thick slices
  • Celery 2 sticks, cut into thick slices
  • Mandarin or satsuma 1, finely grated zest
  • Thyme 4 sprigs
  • Bay leaves 2
  • Star anise 2
  • Pitted dried dates 6, halved
  • Whole plum tomatoes 400g can
  • Beef Stock Pots (or stock cubes) 2
  • Mashed potato and broccoli to serve (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/130°fan/Gas 2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Season the flour and use to coat the ox cheeks. Brown them in the oil, two at a time, for 2 minutes each side. Remove with a slotted spoon.
  2. Add the remaining oil to the casserole along with the onions, carrots and celery. Stir well, cover and leave over a low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in any leftover flour, the mandarin zest, thyme, bay leaves, star anise and dates.
  3. Put the meat back in the casserole, add the tomatoes and Stock Pots (or crumble in the stock cubes) and pour over just enough boiling water to cover the meat. Bring to the boil on the hob then cover and cook in the oven for 4 hours until the meat is tender.
  4. Lift the ox cheeks out of the casserole and set aside, covered. Put the casserole on the hob over a medium heat for 10 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and thickened. Pull the meat into large chunks and put back into the sauce. Take out the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Season well and serve with mashed potato and broccoli, if you like.
  5. Slow cooker method Prepare as in the method then place in the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 6 hours. Take the lid off and continue cooking for another hour to reduce the sauce.

Cook’s tips

Ask the butcher to trim the fat off the ox cheeks, or skim the fat off the top of the sauce after cooking but before you reduce it.

The dates and mandarin zest add a subtle fragrance and sweetness to the sauce.

If you prefer, after taking the meat out you can thicken the sauce with cornflour mixed with a little water; bring to the boil before returning the meat to the sauce.


Cook it Slowly! cookbook back in stock!

Cook it Slowly!

This recipe is taken from our Cook it Slowly! cookbook, which is packed full of the most amazing slow-cooked recipes.




Recipe of the Week: Spiced Cottage Pie

Spiced Cottage Pie

A delicious twist on the ubiquitous cottage pie. This fabulous recipe is cheap to make and perfect to freeze.


Spiced Cottage Pie

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Calories 737 per portion
Fat 25g (10.8g sat) per portion
Suitable for freezing


  • Sunflower oil 1 tbsp
  • Minced beef 500g (1lb 2oz)
  • Onion 1, peeled and chopped
  • Medium hot curry powder 2 tbsp
  • Carrot 150g (5oz), diced
  • Red lentils 150g (5oz)
  • Beef stock 600ml (1 pint)
  • Tomato purée 1 tbsp
  • Sultanas 50g (2oz)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Potatoes 680g (1½lb), peeled and cut into chunks
  • Butter 50g (2oz) Milk 4 tbsp
  • Ground turmeric ¼ tsp
  • Cooked frozen peas to serve (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and fry the mince and onion, stirring and breaking up the mince, for about 5 minutes until it is evenly browned.
  2. Stir in the curry powder and carrot, cook 1 minute and then mix in the lentils. Pour in the stock, tomato purée, sultanas and seasoning and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until the lentils are soft.
  3. Meanwhile, put the potatoes into a saucepan with just enough lightly salted water to cover them. Cover with the lid and bring the water to the boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pan with half the butter and the milk and turmeric and season with salt and pepper. Mash well, adding the milk as needed to make a soft spoonable mash.
  5. Preheat the grill to hot. Spoon the mince mixture into an ovenproof dish, cover with the potato and fork the mash into an even layer. Dot the remaining butter over the top and grill for 5–10 minutes until browned. Serve with peas, if you like.

Cook’s tip
Leftover lentils can be used to make a delicious, filling soup. Cook 110g (4oz) lentils with 1 chopped potato, carrot, onion and parsnip (or any other leftover veg you fancy) and 900ml (1½ pints) stock very gently for 1 hour. Purée with a stick blender before you serve.


Fantastic Food For Less cookbook


This recipe comes from Fantastic Food for Less.

The clever recipes in this cookbook show you how to cook fantastic food using good quality, affordable ingredients with minimum waste.

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