Ox Cheek Credit Recipe by Tom Hunt author of The Natural Cook published by Quadrille £20 rrp.jpg

Ox Cheek and Mushroom Stew with Chocolate and Orange Picada

Ox Cheek and Mushroom Stew

These mushrooms are meaty and satisfying. If you don’t feel the need for meat they will be delicious as they are. Try adding the picada to them for something extra special.


Ox cheek and braised mushrooms stew


For the braised mushrooms:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 50g butter
  • 400g of portobello or field mushrooms
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary

For the stew: 

  • Mushrooms from recipe above
  • 400g ox cheek or stewing steak, cut into pieces of similar size to the mushrooms
  • 300ml red wine

For the picada (picada is a traditional Spanish seasoning that is added to a stew near the end of cooking to thicken it and give it flavour. This is a particularly aromatic picada):

  • 1/2 crust of bread
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4-5 walnuts
  • 3 sprigs flat parsley, roughly chopped
  • 10g 70% cocoa chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp orange zest


For the mushrooms:

Preheat the oven 180C. Peel the onion and then thinly slice. Slice the carrot into rounds and roughly chop the garlic. Heat a heavy casserole dish with a lid to a medium heat.

Add a knob of butter and then the onions, carrots and garlic. Saute for 15 minutes until soft and browned.

Cut the mushrooms into large chunks then add to the onions with the rosemary. Saute for 5 minutes until they have a little colour. Add 150ml of water and scrape any sticky bits from the base of the pan. Taste, season and put the lid on. Put in the oven for 15 minutes.

For the stew:

While the mushrooms are in the oven cook off the meat.  Season the beef with salt and pepper. Then in a hot frying pan fry of batches of the meat until they have a good brown colour all over. This is where the flavour comes from so don’t take shortcuts. When all the meat is browned add the wine to the frying pan and bring to the boil, deglaze the pan by scraping any sticky bits from the bottom.

Reduce the heat of the oven to 170C. Add the meat and wine to the casserole pot with the mushrooms. Cook for 2 hours with the lid on. Stir halfway through.

Meanwhile make the picada. Soak the bread in water for a few seconds then squeeze and tear up. Put on a plate to one side. If you have a pestle and mortar crush the garlic with a little salt. Then add the walnuts and the parsley and smash once more. Stir in the bread, chocolate and orange zest and add a little pepper. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar then it will be fine cut by hand.

10 minutes before the casserole is ready pull it out of the oven and sprinkle the picada evenly over the top. Put it back in the oven for the final cooking time with the lid on.

Serve with polenta or mashed potatoes.

Storage: The stew will get better with time and will keep for 4 days in the fridge.