Mrs Bainbridge's retro cottage pie

Mrs Bainbridge's retro cottage pie


  1. Place the trimmed ox cheeks in a large bowl or tray and add veg and spices. Cover with the red wine and marinade for 24hrs. Strain the ox cheeks. Place in a frying pan on a high heat, season with salt and seal them off on both sides. Once golden place back into a heavy based pot, repeat the process with the vegetables.
  2. In a large pan reduce the red wine by 3/4 and pour back over the ox cheeks. Bake off 150g of the spelt flour until golden and add to the ox cheeks. Top up with water (or veal stock) approximately 2-3 ltr, then bring to the boil and cover with tin foil. Place in the oven at 130C/250F/Gas Mark 1/2 for approximately 3-4 hours or until the ox cheeks are tender.
  3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled place in the fridge over night. The next day remove the ox cheeks from the jellied sauce, portion into sizes of your choice and place into a heavy bottomed dish. Bring the sauce back up to the boil, pass through a sieve and continue to reduce to a rich sauce consistency. Then pour the rich beef sauce back over the ox cheeks and place in the oven at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-20 mins to heat through. When hot, season heavily with white pepper.
  4. Turn the oven up to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Place a layer of table salt onto an oven tray and add potatoes on top. Score an X lightly on top of the potatoes and place into the oven for 45mins, or until the potatoes are cooked.
  5. In the meantime, place the cream and milk into a pan and bring to the boil. Once the potatoes are cooked remove from the oven and cool for about 5-10 mins. Scoop out the potato and push through a sieve into a bowl, then slowly mix in the milk a little at a time (if you add it to quickly this is where the mashed potato will turn lumpy). Once all the milk is added, add the butter and mix until smooth (try not to use a machine as this can over work the potatoes and become like wall paper paste!).
  6. Season the mashed potatoes with salt, white pepper and grated nutmeg. Place back into a pot and cling film making sure the cling film is touching the mash to help not form a skin.
  7. Using a ring or mould (this could be a piece of piping or pastry cutter) spoon a large spoon of the mashed potatoes into the mould, then add the spinach or greens and place the ox cheek on top. Garnish with the salad leaves and fried shallot rings.
  8. Remove the mould, add a little extra sauce and serve! This dish is a little upside down - so if you wanted to serve it the other way around, by all means – it’s your dinner party.

TV Chef and Michelin Star restaurateur Richard Bainbridge has provided his retro party recipe for ‘Mrs Bainbridge’s Cottage Pie’. By hosting a retro dinner party inviting friends to make a donation in return for a dinner with a difference, you’ll be helping Marie Curie Nurses to provide care and support to people living with a terminal illness and their families. To sign up and get your free fundraising pack visit or call 0800 716 146. Photo credit Katja Bainbridge.

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To make the fried onion rings, slice the shallots into rings, lightly dust in plain seasoned flour and fry in hot oil until crispy


For the ox cheek:
5kg ox cheek (trimmed)
4 carrots (peeled, roughly chopped)
1 onion (peeled, roughly chopped)
4 sticks celery (peeled, roughly chopped)
1 large leek (peeled, roughly chopped)
10 button mushrooms
10 juniper berries crushed
20 white pepper corns crushed
1 star anise
150g spelt flour
red wine to cover (1-2 ltr)
For the buttery mashed potato:
3 kg red potatoes
pinch of table salt
150g salted butter (cut into cubes)
250g double cream
250g whole milk
pinch of nutmeg for seasoning


Time: 20 mins
Serves: 4-6
Nutrition: n/a