Recipes, Beef Recipes

Braised ox cheeks, flageolet beans & turnips

The mean months are here to stay for a while and so it’s time to bring out the tanks. Classed as offal, Ox cheek not only has a delicious flavour, and tender gluey texture, but also goes lenient on the more distracted cook. In fact, the longer you cook it the more tender and giving it becomes. This is definitely hefty French farm food and I highly advise relief in the form of sharp Dijon mustard and a bottle of good claret as lifting accompaniments.

Braised ox cheeks, flageolet beans & turnips

Braised ox cheeks, flageolet beans & turnips

Recipe by

Serves 6 hungry humans


  • 2 x 800g packs Ox Cheeks trimmed and cut in large half fist sized chunks 

  • 12 small long (banana) shallots, peeled and left whole

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra

  • 1 garlic bulb, split into cloves and peeled whole

  • 1½ tbsp red wine vinegar

  • 2 tsp caster sugar

  • 2 tbsp plain flour

  • 75g butter

  • 3 tbsp tomato purée

  • 600ml homemade beef stock

  • 300ml Côtes du Rhône 

  • a large sprig of fresh thyme

  • 8 black peppercorns 

  • 1 large fresh bay leaf

  • 3-4 medium turnips, halved 

  • 2 x 400g tins of flageolet beans, drained and rinsed


  • In a large casserole dish, heat the olive oil and sauté the shallots carefully and slowly taking care not to burn the oil. They want to be cooked to a lovely deep golden colour.
  • When they start to colour add the garlic cloves so that they end up a rich golden colour by the time the shallots do.
  • Splash all with the vinegar and evaporate it. Scatter the sugar over the onions and garlic, continuing to cook them until the sugar caramelises, turning them an even richer deep gold.
  • Remove all to a plate.
  • Dredge the meat in seasoned flour.
  • Melt the butter in the same pan and then carefully brown the meat all over, taking great care not to burn the butter.
  • Add the tomato purée to the pan and stir it around with the beef until it begins to catch. Return the shallots and garlic with the herbs and peppercorns and then pour in the wine and stock.
  • Bring up to the gentlest ‘plup, plup, plup’ and place the lid on top, remembering that the heat will rise and will probably need to be turned down more so it’s kept at a gentle simmer.
  • Cook the meat gently for 2 -2 ½ hours until the meat is very tender. After an hour of cooking, lift the lid and poke the pieces of turnip between the meat and pour in the beans. Check to see if a little more water may be needed. Once done it should be of a gravy consistency.
  • Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  • Eat with a good crusty baguette and a glass of what’s left in the bottle. Go for along walk afterwards or fall asleep!