Saturday, October 8, 2011
A couple of nights ago I cooked a favourite casserole of ours, Beef Stifatho (stee-FAH-thoh)
I have been cooking this recipe since I was 25 years old (which has been a while) I pulled the original handwritten recipe from an old cooking folder on the weekend. Torn and splattered. I thought back to the day when I had copied it from my Greek friends recipe book.
We were sitting in his cafe by the beach, drinking greek coffee and me (always!) with a piece of galaktoboureko. As I scribbled down some of my favourite recipes, he told me stories of the food his mother had cooked for him as a child on Crete. He talked constantly with nostalgia and excitement, stressing important 'greek cooking' tips, that I must not forget.
"This must be done this way, never that way, and don't ever do this, that would be wrong"
On this day we had a great debate about moussaka - who was I to be doing such a thing - an Anglo Saxon! but that's a story for another day.
I love to serve this with only crusty bread to soak up the juices, followed by a large salad. However my photos show macaroni on the side because someone (me) forgot to buy the bread. I didn't really like it with the plain macaroni, a pilaf would have been better.
• 1 kilogram chuck steak
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 onion (finely diced)
• 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
• 1 cup tomato passata
• 1/2 cup red wine
• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 4 whole cloves
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• salt and pepper
• 750 gram small pickling onions (halved if they are large)
• 2 tablespoons currants
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Heat the oil in a heavy based casserole dish and brown the meat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft. Add the passata, wine, vinegar, bay leaf, spices, and sugar. Season to taste. Bring to the boil and either reduce the heat to simmer and cook on the stove top or transfer the dish to the oven. Cook for 1 hour. Add the onions and currants and stir well. Continue to cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat and onions are soft and the sauce is thick. Serve hot.
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