Braised ox cheek Wellingtons with peppercorn gravy

Braised ox cheek Wellingtons with peppercorn gravy

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(11 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 3 hrs, 45 mins

More effort

Serves 2
Crisp puff pastry covers tender meat in these individual Wellingtons - the ultimate main course for a romantic Valentine's Day meal for two

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal1446
  • fat94g
  • saturates45g
  • carbs90g
  • sugars5g
  • fibre2g
  • protein58g
  • salt4.9g


  • 1 tbsp rapeseed, vegetable or sunflower oil
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • 1 ox cheek, about 350g trimmed of any sinew
  • 1 tbsp plain flour, plus a little for dusting
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms
  • knob of butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 500g pack puff pastry
  • 4 slices prosciutto



    Prosciutto is a sweet, delicate ham intended to be eaten raw. The word 'prosciutto' is…

  • 1 egg, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed using a pestle and mortar
  • cooked green vegetables, to serve


  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Heat the oil in an ovenproof pan (one with a tight-fitting lid) or flameproof casserole dish over a high heat. Cut the ox cheek into 4 large chunks, then season well and toss in the flour and mustard powder. Place the pieces of meat in the hot oil – they should sizzle – and brown the meat all over. Add the onion to the pan and continue cooking until softened and starting to caramelise. Add the thyme, stock cube, porcini and some seasoning. Pour 450ml water into the pan, stirring to scrape any meaty bits off the bottom. Cover with a lid and place in the oven to cook for 3 hrs, turning the meat over in the liquid once while cooking, and topping up with a splash of water if the pan looks dry.

  2. While the meat cooks, melt the butter in a pan. Add the garlic, stir for 1 min but don’t brown, then add the mushrooms and cook for 10-12 mins until the pan is dry and the mushrooms are turning golden. Season and set aside.

  3. When their cooking time is up, scoop the ox cheeks out of the liquid and use 2 forks to shred the meat – discard any bits of fat or sinew. Strain the cooking liquid. Add 3-4 tbsp of the liquid back to the meat, along with the cooked mushrooms. Cool, then chill the meat mixture and the cooking liquid for 3 hrs, or up to 48 hrs.

  4. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut out 2 x 12cm circles and 2 x 15cm circles – use 2 plates to cut around if you can. Arrange the prosciutto in pairs on top of the smaller circles of pastry, in a cross shape. Split the meat mixture in half and mount each portion on top of the prosciutto. Fold the prosciutto over the meat to encase it, then flip the little parcel of meat over, so the smooth side is facing up on top of the pastry. Brush the edge of each pastry circle with a little beaten egg, then place the larger circles of pastry on top. Use your hands to create a domed centre, then crimp the edges with a fork (or your fingers) to seal in the meat. Score the pastry in a criss-cross pattern, then brush all over with beaten egg.

  5. Use any pastry scraps to cut out a heart for each pie, stick this on top and brush with egg too. Poke a steam hole on either side of each heart. Place each Wellington on a square of baking parchment and chill for at least 30 mins, or up to 24 hrs.

  6. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and put a baking tray in the oven to heat up. Slide the Wellingtons on their parchment onto the hot tray and bake for 30 mins. Meanwhile, reheat the cooking liquid, add the cream and peppercorns, and keep warm until ready to eat. Serve each Wellington with green veg and the peppercorn gravy for pouring over.

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Comments, questions and tips

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17th May, 2020
Simply gorgeous! It’s worth double if the recipe and serving for a dinner party
31st Dec, 2018
Lovely recipe - lengthy but works perfectly. Couldn’t get ox cheek but beef shin was a good alternative. I didn’t have enough time to chill for the full time (could do with mentioning this in the initial timings, BBC Good Food!) so chilled a shallow dish and spread out before refrigerating the filling.
LaraFoodie's picture
27th May, 2018
Best pies I’ve ever had! Restaurant quality!
16th Feb, 2016
It's also really worth saying that on the advice of my butcher I used rump off-cuts rather than ox cheek. Less sinew, more meat, still cheap!
4th Feb, 2016
I am about to make this for the third time. This is a lot of time to make, but definitely worth it for a special occasion as the results are immense. Every person who has tasted it is so full of praise and that makes all the effort worth it! I cook the meat and onions separately so that the meat can brown and the onions can soften nicely for longer. I also do not throw the cooked onions away when the meat comes from the oven, why would you??!? I mush them up and mix them in with the meat for added depth of flavour. The peppercorn sauce is a must to go with it, using a pestle and mortar to grind whole peppercorns gives a much better sauce, make sure you reduce the cooking liquid before adding the cream to give a concentrated, rich flavour.
21st Jun, 2015
Boom! This is absolutely DELICIOUS! An excellent option for a dinner party - looks great, tastes even better, can be prepared well in advance and uses a wallet friendly cut of meat too. Will definitely make again. And again.
25th Feb, 2015
This looks delicious but the nutritional information really puts me off - almost 1500 calories, is that right?!
17th Feb, 2015
Absolutely amazing. The peppercorn sauce really makes it. I left the porcini in the meat mix rather than strain them out. They were huge and very filling. Definitely will make again.
16th Feb, 2015
Absolutely delicious. I shall definately be making this again. I didn't use ox cheek as I had a piece of Featherblade in the freezer that needed using up but slow cooking it on the lower temperature created the same result. Another small insignificant change, I didn't cut the pastry into circles as I love puff pastry and didn't want to 'waste the corners' so made a rectangular one! My partner can take or leave pastry but with this filling they couldn't get enough of it.
15th Feb, 2015
This was delicious. Very rich but so good no guilt felt. Recipe was moderately easy but whole process took a while. Cooked for Valentine's Day and went down a storm. Would cook again for a dinner party.
19th Nov, 2015
Can I freeze this ahead? If so would I cook it from frozen and how long for? Thank you.
goodfoodteam's picture
10th Dec, 2015
You can freeze these before baking. Pack up the cooking liquid too, but don't add the cream and peppercorns at this stage, complete the recipe when you serve it. They will keep in the freezer for 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before baking or bake from frozen adding approx 20 mins to the baking time, but you may find that the pastry starts to brown a little too much so protect them towards the end by loosely covering with foil.
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