Happy Tuesday, Noshers!  Today, I’m super excited to share an early Valentine’s Day post and spread some Valentine’s Day cheer with a few recipes and a GIVEAWAY!  This year, I’m partnering with Le Creuset to highlight a few of their adorably drool-worthy Valentine’s Day offerings – such as the petite heart cocotte and the slightly larger heart cocotteI looooove my two Le Creuset Dutch ovens and a heart-shaped addition is just out of this world! I mean, just look at this:


For Valentine’s Day this year, I will be making use of two Le Creuset products – the 5 3/4 quart round Dutch Oven and the new large heart cocotte.  I’m following the tried and true recipe of Mrs. Julia Child herself to make beef bourguignon, and my own recipe for a large molten salted caramel chocolate cake.  Yes – you read that correctly!  And, I’m happy to share both recipes with you so you can create your own Valentine’s Day  meal!

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignonle-creuset-heart-cocotte-3-6608018

  • One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  • 18 to 24 white onions, small
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered


1. Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

3. Saute lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

4. Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and saute until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.

5. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.

6. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.

8. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

9. Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

10. Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

11. Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

12. While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet. Add onions and saute over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly. Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

13. Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms. Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

14. When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.

15. Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.  If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

16. Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.


Salted Caramel Chocolate Lava Cake


For Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt


1. In a medium saucepan over medium flame, heat granulated sugar, stirring constantly.  The sugar will first clump (it took me about 5 minutes) and then melt into a golden syrup.

2. Once sugar reaches syrup form, add butter immediately and stir until melted. It will bubble – that’s ok!

3.  Slowly add in whipping cream, continuing to stir.  Once thoroughly combined, remove from heat and stir in salt.  Allow to cool completely.le-creuset-heart-cocotte-6-4326418

For Cake:le-creuset-heart-cocotte-7-7577927

  • 8oz of good quality dark chocolate
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup flour


1. Preheat oven to 425F, and butter large cast iron heart cocotte

2. Melt chocolate and butter over double boiler, stirring until completely combined.

3. Remove from heat and stir in confectioner’s sugar.

4. Add in egg and egg yolks until combined, then stir in flour until combined.

5. Pour batter into buttered cocotte and bake for ~20 minutes, or until top center is set but jiggly.

6. Pour caramel into a squeeze bottle, or a plastic bag with one corner cut off to make a nozzle.  Using a chopstick or knife, poke 3-4 holes into the top center of the cake.  Using bottle or bag, gently and slowly fill cake with caramel sauce until you see some overflow

7. Sift powdered sugar onto cake and serve immediately.le-creuset-heart-cocotte-11-6621632

Yup, both the beef bourguignon and the molten cake were bowl scraping, finger-lickin’ good, if I do say so myself.  But don’t take MY word for it.  That’s right – you have the chance to win your very own large Le Creuset heart cocotte to brighten up your kitchen and try your hand at making a dessert for your Valentine (or for yourself)! Offered in pink or red (a tough decision, I know!), the lucky winner gets his or her choice of color.

For your chance to win your very own Le Creuset heart cocotte enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.  This 52 second video provides a tutorial on how to enter a giveaway for Rafflecopter newbies! There are 6 methods of entry, with the first method (commenting on this blog post) being mandatory and the rest just extra gravy (4 via Rafflecopter and 1 via Instagram tag)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, and happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂

Note: Prize and review product provided by Le Creuset, opinions are my own.  Please note that prize can be shipped to a US shipping address only.