No I haven't gone all unhealthy on you but if ever there was a time to indulge in some rich food then cooking your main for Valentines Day would be it. This is a favourite of mine that I developed over the years, it was also the first recipe I did for my magazine food column. It's a winner and bound to make your beloved fall even more madly in love with you, food does that don't you know?! This does require some time to cook but once you’ve spent a little time on prepping you can just leave this to bubble gently on the stove whilst you get on with more important things...
1kg chuck or shin of beef cut into large pieces – this is important so it doesn’t break down in the cooking process
20 Shallots, peeled
30 button mushrooms – I used chestnut button mushrooms
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
150g streaky bacon, cut into short strips
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
Bottle of red wine – French is best here; a Burgundy works well but I have also made it with a Merlot
300 – 400ml beef stock, add 300ml to start and then add more if you need to
firstly, the night before you need to marinate the beef in the wine and herbs (not the garlic) and use the marinade as the cooking liquor - this will add a depth of flavour to the dish. toss the beef in a little seasoned flour and then colour the meat in a little oil and butter – make sure you use a heavy based casserole dish or pan. remove the beef and then add the shallots and cook for around 5 minutes, until they go slightly golden, then add the mushrooms and cook for a further few minutes. remove them from the pan and set aside. add a little more oil to the pan if needed and add in the onion and bacon. once they have browned slightly add the beef to the pan along with the garlic, stock and the wine and herbs. season and then simmer on a very low heat for around 1 ½ hrs – alternatively, you could pop it in the oven at around 140°C for the same amount of time. add the shallots and mushrooms and cook for a further 30 minutes. i served this with my homemade dauphinoise potatoes and baby carrots which worked well. you could actually make the whole dish the day before and just heat it up for 30 minutes or so before you need it – a bourguignon that has mellowed overnight is a tasty dish indeed!