Beef Stifado

stifado.jpg

This is a classic Greek dish which can be made with chicken, pork, rabbit or even snails! It’s also the ONLY ‘exotic’ dish my dad, who is a ridiculously plain eater, will eat – mainly due to a trip to Greece a few years back when it was a case of Stifado or starve. Anyway, this is a lovely stew that goes well with mashed potatoes or rice. This serves 6 people incidentally. This tastes even better reheated so freeze some for a later date.

INGREDIENTS:
500g small boiling onions (peeled – left whole)
1.5kg stewing beef (cut into large cubes or medium steaks and lightly dredged in plain flour)
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
2 teaspoons of grated orange zest
5 tomatoes (seeds removed and chopped)
2 tablespoons tomato concentrate (mixed with 1/4 cup warm water)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
4 bay leaves
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup red wine
Salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 175ºC
In about 1 pint of water boil the onions for 4-5 minutes, remove from the liquid and set aside. Keep the liquid. Heat oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the meat in batches until lightly browned. Transfer to a large ovenproof lidded pan or dish add a little more oil for each batch of meat. When all the meat is done, add the onions to the pan and fry them gently for 10 minutes until they brown. Add these to the meat.

Pour in the vinegar and scrape off anything stuck to the pan – for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, cumin, garlic, allspice, cloves, bay leaves, orange zest and stir for about 1 minute until it boils. Now add the tomato paste and the red wine and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and pour in 1 cup of the water the onion boiled in. Pour this liquid over the meat and onions and place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Add salt & pepper to your taste at this point.

Reduce the heat to 150ºC and continue cooking for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

The beef should be tender, but the onions should just keep their shape. If you need to reduce the sauce then place back in the oven for 10 mins with the lid off or simmer on the hob if you’re using a pan.

SERVING:
Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables or with rice and/or bread… or just eat it from the pan with a large spoon and a loaf of bread.

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