Love is in the air today. If you are the type of person who can't say, 'I love you', to your nearest and dearest, you simply cannot be forgiven for not saying it today. For Valentines Day is upon us, a day when shares in major card shops go through the roof, buckets outside of garages are strangely empty of wilting flowers and boxes of Maltesers vanish from shelves. There are some lucky ladies out there.
I prefer to show my love through food for the simple reason that I know that my wife would prefer a decent meal to a box of Terry's All Black. Last night we had to do our bit of celebrating as I'm working this evening, and it was kept very simple with one of our favourite red wine packed casseroles, Beef Bourguignonne. Little Cerys shared our special dinner with us; we thought it only fair considering she had made us a valentines card at nursery.
The great thing about this kind of meal is that it can be prepared in advance, and left in the lowest of ovens pretty much all day (I mean the LOWEST of ovens if you are going to use this method). Or even better, make it the night before and re-heat it; the flavours will be much improved. Either way, it packs in flavour and makes for a classic no fuss romantic meal that can be eaten with the remainder of a decent bottle of Burgundy. Happy Valentines Day lovers everywhere x
2 carrots, peeled and cut into cubes
2 sticks of celery, cut into cubes
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
A dozen shallots, peeled and left whole
1 tbsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
6 whole cloves of garlic
750g stewing steak
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp plain flour
Half bottle of Burgundy
300ml beef stock
250g mushrooms, I used chestnut
Salt and pepper
1 - Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees C, GM2.
2 - In a large heat proof casserole dish, heat up the oil and add the bacon and vegetables. Stir for 5-6 minutes until softened and beginning to colour.
3 - Add the shallots, thyme, garlic, bay leaves, tomato purée and beef and cook for a further 5 minutes until it begins to take on a golden colour.
4 - Stir in the flour until thoroughly combined, then pour in the wine and stock. Bring to the boil then place in the oven and cook for 2 and a half to 3 hours.
5 - Halfway through cooking, slice the mushrooms into quarters and fry off in a little olive oil to take out some of the water and give a little colour. Add to the casserole for the remainder of the cooking time.
6 - When finished, taste for seasoning and serve with mashed potato and seasonal greens.