1kg beef cheeks
100g bacon or speck, trimmed of fat, chopped
250ml (1 cup) red wine
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves
250ml (1 cup) beef stock
12 baby onions, peeled and trimmed, halved lengthways if large
1½ tablespoons sugar
1½ tablespoons sherry vinegar
16 button mushrooms, halved
1. Trim the beef cheeks of excess fat and sinew, then cut into four portions. Put the beef in the slow cooker along with the bacon, wine, celery, carrot, onion, thyme, garlic and stock. Cook on low for 7 hours (this will vary slightly, depending on the thickness of the beef), or until the meat is almost falling apart.
2. Meanwhile, place half of the butter in a heavy-based frying pan, add the onions and cook over low to medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until golden. Add the sugar and cook until caramelised, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure that it caramelises evenly. Add half the vinegar and stir to remove any sediment from the bottom of the pan. Transfer to the slow cooker.
3. oelt the remaining butter in the pan and cook the mushrooms over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden. Pour in the remaining vinegar and stir to remove any sediment from the bottom of the pan.
4. Add the mushrooms to the slow cooker and cook, uncovered, for a further 1 hour, or until the beef is tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
5. Serve the beef cheeks with the sauce, mashed potato and steamed green veges.