29/04/2006

Stifado

(Serves 2-3)

500g (1lb) stewing beef, in chunks
2 large onions, roughly chopped
2 tblsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tblsp vinegar
300g (10 oz) can or pack chopped tomatoes or puree
1 tsp cinnamon
wine and/or water
salt and pepper

Fry the meat and onions gently in the oil until the meat is sealed and the onions are soft. Add the garlic and vinegar; boil well for about a minute. Add the tomatoes, seasonings, and enough wine or water to cover the meat. Cover and cook the stifado very gently for about three hours, adding extra liquid as necessary.

This can also be made in a crockpot (slow cooker), though you may need to double or treble the ingredients, depending on the size, so that it is at least half full. No need to do the initial frying, unless you wish to; I just put the onions at the bottom of the crockpot, the stewing steak on top, and then the rest of the ingredients. I cooked on high for about two hours, then reduced to low and simmered for around eight hours more, and it turned out very well. But the cooking times do depend, somewhat, on the slow cooker.

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This is a very easy version of a traditional dish served locally in Cyprus. It's more correct to use tiny onions for stifado: frying them at the start, removing them, and adding them back towards the end, but we prefer it with regular chopped onions and it's simpler this way. It's best to have reasonably lean stewing beef, but any type will do; the long, slow cooking ensures it should be very tender. If you're in doubt, cook for even longer.

If we happen to have some wine leftover in the fridge I pour it in, and then top up with water. Otherwise I just use water, and the taste isn't much different. If you like garlic, you can add more than one clove, but it's a bit bland if you leave it out altogether.

We like to serve stifado with baked jacket potatoes and some veggies such as broccoli and peas, but it can be eaten with bread, pittas, rice, potato wedges, even pasta. It's an excellent dish to serve when guests are expected, since the time schedule is approximate; if they're late, it's all the better.

If there is any left over it freezes well, and the meat is even more tender after thawing and reheating.

1 comment:

traoulos said...

I agree with you. Chopped onions in a stifado are so much better than using whole small onions.