This is the kind of dish that could be served up for a simple family meal on a budget, rather like the pot au feu that is a French speciality; or alternatively, you could turn it into a sophisticated, restaurant-style dish, depending on which cuts you use.
You can use any cuts of meat that require a bit of slow cooking so that you achieve a good-flavoured stock. After I came across some ox cheeks on the Waitrose counter, I was inspired to create this versatile boiled mixed meat dish along with some of the ham hock and lamb breast, with the addition of some chicken drumsticks.
1 ox cheek weighing about 300-400g
1 ham hock, soaked overnight in cold water
A boned and rolled breast of lamb weighing about 400-500g
4 chicken drumsticks
A few sprigs of thyme
12 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 onions, peeled and halved
4 carrots, peeled
2 medium leeks, trimmed and washed
Put the ox cheek, ham hock and lamb in a saucepan with the onion, thyme, peppercorns and bay leaf, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for an hour. Chop the knuckle off the drumsticks and push the meat down the bone a little and add to the pot with the carrots and leeks and continue simmering for 20 minutes or so until the carrots and leeks are tender. Remove them from the pan and put to one side. Continue simmering until the meats are tender; it's difficult to put a time on this as slow-cooking joints vary.
Once the meats are cooked, remove them from the pot and strain the stock. Skim any fat off and simmer until it has reduced by about half and strengthened in flavour. To serve, cut the meat into chunks, cut the carrots in half lengthways, or in thick slices on the angle and the same with the leeks. Reheat everything in the stock and serve in one large serving dish or individual ones.