Goulash is the quintessential Hungarian one-pot dish. Flavoursome, filling and frugal this superb recipe has long been one of my favourites. Even so, the addition of ox cheek manages somehow to raise the level of goulash above any previous rendition. This is the paprika-based pinnacle.
Ox cheek is quickly becoming my favourite cut of meat. It’ dark, succulent and cheap (c. £6.50/kg) – a knockout combination you must agree. It is the ultimate stewing beef and though it takes a little effort to prepare any energy expended is doubly worth it.
Supermarkets tend not to stock ox cheek; it isn’t the most popular cut as some find the idea of eating cheek unappealing. Instead, head off in the direction of your local butcher – the meat is so much better and it’s always a good idea to support the community – who will be only too happy to help.
A big thank you to Tanya of Chica Andaluza for her assistance in making this goulash as delicious as possible. Tanya recently sent me a generous selection of Spanish paprika (pimenton) of which I’ve become an avid fan. I’m so pleased to have such fantastic followers!
Local connection: I urge all fellow Bristolians to head to Source in St. Nicholas Market when on the lookout for meat. They stock good quality, ethically sourced, delicious and well-priced meat, fish, vegetables, cheese and bread – I can’t get enough.
Ox Cheek Goulash
500g ox cheek, in large chunks
2 red peppers, roughly chopped
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, mashed
3-4 bay leaves
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 ½ tbsp sweet or smoked paprika
500ml beef stock
- salt and pepper
1. Heat a little olive oil in a large pan and brown your meat all over. Set the meat to one side and cook the onion, pepper, garlic and celery gently for 10 minutes. Once the vegetables are translucent add the browned cheek and bay leaves. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the paprika before incorporating the stock and tomato puree. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 2 hours.
3. Remove the lid and allow to reduce until thick, season generously to taste and serve with sour cream and bread or giant cous cous.
Cost: As mentioned above, ox cheek is an incredibly well-priced meat, perfect for a simple dish such as this. As such, this recipe for ox cheek goulash should set you back a mere £5.