beef stifado

We had a friend over for dinner tonight so I wanted to try something new… And drew a complete blank. All I managed to decide was that I really fancied some potatoes dauphinoise and so (creatively) googled “what to serve with potatoes dauphinoise” and this came up… Worth a try? Gosh yes.

I’ve never made it before but it was fabulous (if I say so myself) – it’s a very rich, tomatoey, beef stew with a really interesting spicy flavour. I started here and tinkered around with it a little – mostly by leaving out the shallots (because who can be bothered to peel 500g of shallots?! I mean really.) and, because our guest doesn’t drink, leaving out the wine (and wine vinegar) and substituting with a good glug of sherry vinegar.

  • Beef, lean casserole steak – about 750g would be enough for 4 people I think
  • Onions, 2, thickly sliced
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil, lots – probably close to 100ml
  • Sherry vinegar, a good slosh, around 100ml again
  • Stock cube (I used one of those chicken stock jelly pots)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • Cloves, 4
  • 1 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Tin of plum tomatoes
  • black pepper
  • salt

Fry the beef in batches in a very hot pan with a tiny bit of vegetable oil to seal and colour the meat and add the onions, garlic and olive oil and let the onions soften – might be worth turning down the heat a little. Add the vinegar and let it simmer for 5 mins to burn off the harsh sourness – it’ll smell a little strong but don’t worry. Add everything else (apart from the tomatoes), give it a good stir to mix everything together and open your tin of tomatoes. Pour them into a large bowl and squidge them into rough chunks with your hands and throw away any hard bits of stalk, pour into the pan. Season well and add about 500ml of water from the kettle before putting everything into an oven dish and cover (I use foil) – cook in a medium oven (about 180 degrees, fan) for 2 hours until the meat is tender and coming apart slightly – keep an eye on it and top up the sauce with more water as it needs it. The sauce should be very shiny, rich and thick. We had this with potatoes dauphinoise but it would be equally lovely with some rice or crusty bread and I would imagine it’d be even better the next day having rested overnight in the fridge (if you can resist scoffing the lot, right there and then).

 

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