Winter Ox Cheek and Beetroot Casserole with Horseradish Salsa

Winter Ox Cheek and Beetroot Casserole with Horseradish Salsa

Serves 6-8 

Prep time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 2.5 hours

Ox cheek is an underrated cut of meat, it’s excellent value for money and breaks down so beautifully when cooked on a low heat for a lengthy amount of time. It’s very strong in flavour, but it can really stand up to the bold spices and red wine in this recipe. The horseradish salsa is an accompaniment, but it really helps cut through the rich earthiness of the casserole, and balances it so beautifully.

Chefs Tip

If you can’t get hold of ox cheek, you can use beef chuck, or venison shoulder. You may need to adjust the cooking times slightly, so check after an hour and a half. 

4 tbsp olive oil

1.2kg ox cheek, cut into 2-3cm dice 

1 tbsp flour (gluten free optional)

2 onions, finely chopped

4 celery sticks, finely chopped

2 large carrot, chopped into 1.5 cm chunks

6 garlic cloves

500g beetroot, peeled and cut into chunky segments

3 sprigs of thyme 

3 bay leaves

¼ tsp ground cloves 

¼ tsp ground juniper

2 tbsp tomato puree 

400ml red wine 

400ml beef stock 


Horseradish Salsa
4 tbsp parsley, chopped

2 tbsp gherkins, chopped

1 tbsp horseradish

2 tbsp white balsamic

3 tbsp olive oil


1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil over a medium heat in a large heavy bottom casserole pan. Toss the ox cheek chunks into seasoned flour and brown the ox cheek in batches, adding 1 tbsp of oil for each batch, this should be done in three batches. Make sure you really allow the ox cheek to caramelise and go brown, don’t rush this process. Remove each batch from the pan and set aside in a bowl. You may want to deglaze the pan with a splash of water in between each batch. Simply add this to the stock as it will be full of flavour. 

2.  Add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan then add the onion, celery and carrot, cook over a medium low heat for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. When the vegetables are soft and beginning to take on some colour, add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the herbs, spices and tomato puree. 

3. Add the red wine, beef stock, beetroot and ox cheek to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn the heat down, and cook gently for about two and a half hours, or until the ox cheek is tender and the beetroot is cooked. Alternatively, you can transfer the venison into an ovenproof dish and cook it, covered, in a low oven – around 120C/235F/gas mark ¼-½ for the same amount of time. 

4. Meanwhile, make the horseradish salsa by mixing all of the ingredients together, check for balance and seasoning. Serve the ox cheek and beetroot casserole with a drizzle of salsa, alongside some creamy polenta or roasted root vegetables such as celeriac.