1.2kg beef cheeks or chuck steak, cut into large cubes
1 onion, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 cups red wine
2 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups beef stock
6 rashers smoky bacon, cut into batons
12 shallots, peeled and halved
1 1/2 cups button mushrooms, quartered
1.5kg pumpkin, peeled and seeded
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp allspice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
Combine the beef, onion, carrot, garlic, thyme and bay leaves in a large non-metallic dish. Pour over the wine and brandy and marinate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Drain the meat mixture and reserve the marinade. Discard the herbs and pat the meat and vegetables dry with paper towel and toss in the flour. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pot and brown in two batches. Return all the meat and vegetables to the pot, add the reserved marinade and stock, bring to the boil, then remove from heat and cover. Transfer to the oven for 2 1/2 hours.
Remove from the oven. Add the bacon, shallots and mushrooms to the meat. Cover and bake for another hour.
Meanwhile, steam the pumpkin until tender. Puree or mash with the spices and season to taste.
Serve the casserole with the pumpkin on the side and garnish with parsley.