Beef cheek and butternut broth in sourdough

Preparation time
less than 30 mins

Cooking time
over 2 hours

Serves 4

This hearty, filling soup requires very little washing up – just eat the bowl when you’ve finished!

By Nigel Slater
From Nigel Slater: Eating Together


  • 2 litres/4¼ pints boiling water
  • 50g/1¾oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 800g/1lb 12oz beef cheek
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, cut into 5cm/2in chunks
  • 250g/9oz orzo pasta
  • 1 large round sourdough loaf (the largest you can find)
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves, to serve


  1. Pour the boiling water into a large bowl and add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside to infuse for 20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Brown the beef cheek on all sides for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to a large lidded casserole.

  3. Add the onions to the frying pan and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until softened and just golden-brown. Transfer to the casserole. Repeat the process with the butternut squash.

  4. Pour the porcini liquid and the mushrooms into the casserole and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering. Half-cover the casserole with the lid, then simmer gently for 3 hours, stirring occasionally and topping up with boiling water if the volume of liquid reduces significantly.

  5. After 3 hours, tip the orzo into the casserole and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes, or until tender.

  6. Meanwhile, slice the top off the sourdough loaf and hollow out the inside.

  7. Ladle the broth into the empty sourdough loaf, sprinkling over the chopped parsley to garnish.

Recipe Tips

Either ladle the soup into one large sourdough loaf and allow people to help themselves, or serve the soup in individual sourdough rolls.

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