The Perfect Valentines Night In

Virgin Wines
Luke Leeder – Author

Valentines day is fast approaching, but if you’re worried about burning the kitchen down and making your valentine run for the hills, we’ve got an incredible recipe to save the day. Not only does this look unbelievable, but it’s surprisingly simple as well. Slow cooking the beef will allow you to go away and make the final preparations for the big night. We’ve even picked out a cheeky little wine match to make this dish sing, what’s better than enjoying a naughty glass of something nice with that special someone.

Slow braised shin of beef with fondant potatoes and sautéed wild mushrooms


For the slow braised shin of beef:

(Overall cooking time 4 hours)

  • 2 kg shin of beef, cut into large chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled but left whole
  • 2tbsp tomato puree
  • 600 ml beef stock
  • 500 ml red wine
  • Handful of fresh chopped parsley to serve

For the Fondant potatoes:

(Overall cooking time 20 minutes)

  • 4 or 5 Maris piper potatoes (or any floury potatoes) peeled and cut into 1-2 cm thick slices
  • 1 Chicken stock cube
  • 100g salted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, skin left on
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1-2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • A good handful of assorted wild mushrooms roughly chopped (Shitake, Oyster, Enoki or whatever you can get your hands on, alternatively chestnut mushrooms will do the job)


  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (gas mark 3)
  2. Season the meat with plenty of salt and black pepper.
  3. Put a cast iron pot or deep roasting tray onto the hob at medium heat and add a good glug of olive oil until heated.
  4. Add the meat and cook until well browned on all sides (around 10-15 minutes)
  5. Add the garlic cloves and the tomato puree and stir around for 1-2 minutes until it coats the meat and begins to stick to the pan.
  6. Add the red wine and use a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan, add the beef stock and season again with a touch of salt and plenty of black pepper.
  7. Bring to the boil then take off the heat. Add the lid to the pot or cover the roasting pan in foil then place in the oven and leave for a good 4 hours. Leaving plenty of time to go buy flowers, set the table and get your glad rags on.
  8. Once the time is pretty much up for the meat it’s time to cook the fondant potatoes. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and stir in the chicken stock until fully dissolved.
  9. Add the potatoes and let them simmer away for ten-12 minutes until soft but not breaking, drain and set aside.
  10. Remove the meat from the oven and set aside to rest.
  11. Add the butter to a large thick bottomed frying pan and heat on medium low until the butter is melted and beginning to bubble.
  12. Throw in the garlic, thyme and rosemary, followed by the potatoes and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook for around 5-6 minutes each side or until they become a lovely golden colour.
  13. Once ready discard the garlic and herbs from the pan and place the potatoes onto a board ready to serve.
  14. Sautee the mushrooms in the same pan for 1-2 minutes then take off the heat.

To serve stack 3 or 4 of the fondant potatoes on a plate or bowl, break the beef into large chunks with a fork and layer on top of the potatoes and scatter over the mushrooms. Finish by pouring over the juices from the pan and sprinkling over a little parsley.

We’ve put together a cracking 6 bottle case to really get the part started. You can read more about the case by clicking HERE

Dave Roberts - Wine Buyer
Dave Roberts – Wine Buyer

Prosecco – get this really well chilled and pop the cork to get the evening started.

Marsc Wine Co. Barossa Frontignac – this is a proper aperitif wine that will pair up with a few nibbles perfectly. It is a light white and just 9% ABV and I can pretty much guarantee your date will never have heard of it. So you can be a bit of a wine expert, guaranteed to impress.

Lof Cabernet Sauvignon – this is our mate German Lyon’s (winemaker Perez Cruz) private project he began around 5 years ago. It’s a wine made from vineyards in his back garden. Tiny volumes produced each vintage where he aims to make Maipo Cabernet that is super pure, very expressive and redolent of the soils of his back yard. Cabernet Sauvignon is a dark skinned tannic variety that comes into its own when paired with beef dishes, especially slow cooked cuts like shin.

Click here to see the rest of the case in all its glory!


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