Cod and ox cheek stew

Cod and ox cheek stew

Everyday Seafood

This is a really heart-warming winter bowl of food. Ox cheeks have a great flavour and become meltingly tender if you cook them right. Here they make a brilliant partner for meaty cod cheeks. Both can handle beer quite well, so the marriage is a happy (cheeky!) one. Monkfish cheeks work equally well here, if you happen to come across them. I like to serve this with a swede, carrot and horseradish mash.


Quantity Ingredient
500g cod cheeks, trimmed of sinews
2 ox cheeks, trimmed of sinews
75ml olive oil
2 tablespoons plain flour
100g piece of smoked streaky bacon, cut into lardons
4 shallots, peeled and chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
4 tablespoons tomato puree
6 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
100ml red wine vinegar
500ml sharp’s doom bar beer
4 carrots, peeled and halved lengthways
4 teaspoons chopped parsley
1 lemon, zest grated
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 140°C.
  2. To cook the ox cheeks, heat a heavy-based ovenproof sauté pan over a medium-high heat, then add 3 tbsp of the olive oil. Dust the ox cheeks with the flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. Add the ox cheeks to the pan and fry for 4 minutes, turning as necessary to colour evenly all over. Using a slotted spoon, remove the ox cheeks to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, followed by the bacon, shallots, garlic and rosemary. Sweat over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes, then add the tomato purée and cook for a further 4 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Return the ox cheeks to the pan and add the wine vinegar and beer. Bring to a simmer, then top up the liquor with enough water to cover the ox cheeks. Bring back to a simmer, put the lid on and transfer the pan to the oven. Cook slowly for 4 hours. To check that the ox cheeks are done, lift the lid and pierce one with a knife; it should pass through easily. If there is some resistance, they will need a bit longer in the oven.
  5. In the meantime, steam or boil the carrots until just tender.
  6. Once the ox cheeks are cooked, transfer the pan back to the hob. Add the cod cheeks to the stew, along with the carrots. Return to a simmer and poach gently for 3–4 minutes.
  7. To serve, share the stew equally between 4 warmed bowls. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and grated lemon zest. Serve with mash.
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