Keeping it real … Real Ale
As part of my 30th birthday presents my missus bought me a slow cooker, I had been wanting one for ages (we thought we had one but it turned out to be a pressure cooker!). Slow cooking meat over a whole day results in a thing of beauty. Chili con carne, stews, pulled pork are just a few recipes I have already done in the slow cooker. Recently I have had few different types of cheek cut, the cheek really is one of the best parts to slow cook and is usually realativly cheap. Now being a homeowner means that I have got to know the reduced sections in supermarkets well, and half my freezer is now stocked up with reduced frozen meat. On one of my last hunts I found Ox cheek, I haven’t had too much Ox in my time but I like a bit of Ox tongue so thought we would give the cheek a go and gave it some thought into what do cook.
I love Belgian cuisine, I have had full-blown rows with people before when I have said that I prefer Belgian cuisine to French. One of my favourite dishes while visiting Belgium is their rich beery stews. A Belgian stew seemed perfect to adapt to Ox and using the slow cooker I could cook that baby all day long till the meat fell apart. I used a bottle of Abbaye De Rocs Bruine but there are loads of different dubbels or bruins that would work well with this dish, I would love to make a Westmalle Dubbel stew, I nearly used a Rochefort 10, even bottles of Leffe Bruin would work and be easy to pick up. We had it with cheesy mash, which would be my pick every time with stew but you could also have this Belgian style with chips or even with rice, like I did with the left overs.
Cut the fat from the Ox check and then cut into small pieces, brown them off in a frying pan.
While the Ox is browning chop all the veg and put it in the slow cooker. When the Ox has browned on all sides place in the slow cooker with the veg. Add the beef or veg stock.
In the same frying pan you browned the meat with pour in the bottle of beer and bring to boil. Scrap all the goodness off the pan when putting the beer into the slow cooker. Cook on high for an hour than for as long as you can cook it on low, but make sure it is at least 7 hours.
When the stew has been cooking for 8 hours or more peel and cut your potatoes into quarters. Boil your potatoes till soft throughout, drain, pat dry with some kitchen roll and mash with a knob of butter and grated cheese till smooth.
Make a mountain of mashed potato on your plate then pour the stew over the top and get stuck in.