Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Little Foodies Greece - Beef Stifado (Stew)

Beef stew.... Not something I cook very often, Greek or otherwise. Something my husband and children will eat lots of and yet I still don't cook it that often. It's just that I don't really like too much red meat. I love the taste and especially the gravy that it produces. It's the texture I don't like too much of. Anyway this stifado was great and one I will make again. The boys, both big and small loved it, I ate my fair share too!

It can be made with any meat, it's just typical in Greece to have it with beef. If I'm having red meat then lamb would normally be my first choice. Anyway, I decided to use half a bottle of red wine and herbs from the garden. There are lots of versions available on-line but I think you just have to cook what you want to. This was our version served with boiled new potatoes...

Beef Stifado (Greek Stew) - Serves 6-8 or 4 plus leftovers!
1 kilo Stewing steak
1 kilo shallots, peeled and cut in half if big
Half a bottle of red wine
Half a cup of plain flour
2 tins of whole plum tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Stripped leaves of rosemary from 1 small twig, 2 bay leaves
half a small handful of thyme and oregano or marjoram, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 beef stock cube
boiling water in both empty tins of tomatoes

Take the beef out of the fridge a little while before you're going to use it.
Put the oven on a low to medium heat, approx 160C.
Put the flour in a bowl and tip the cubes of beef in. Roll it around to evenly coat each piece.
In a large ovenproof pan (I used my trusty Le Creuset), add the olive oil and over a low heat cook the shallots for about 5-10 minutes.
Tip the onions into a bowl and then brown the beef in the pan.
Put the onions back in and add the tomatoes, sugar, herbs, stock cube and water and cook on high for 10 minutes.
Then place in the oven and cook for approximately 2 hours, by which time your beef should be meltingly soft. You should give it a stir half way through cooking too.

On Sunday, we had a lovely Greek Salad for lunch with Warmed Pitta Breads sliced into 2cm pieces. We served it with a really nice houmous made by Sabra, it had pine nuts in it too which gave it a different flavour. We also had a tub of very pink taramasalata. The sort that you expect to glow in the dark if you turn the lights off. I was the only one who liked the taramaslata. I've always loved it and the cheaper the better. Weird how some things just hit the spot!

I was reminded of something when my mum left a comment on my last post. Something I probably didn't say thank you enough for at the time. My mum and stepdad arranged and paid for me to have my 18th birthday party at a great little Greek Restaurant in Palmers Green (a long time ago now). It was such a great evening and something different to most of my friends 18th's. For a start I don't remember anyone being sick which was pretty unique. It was particularly great because I didn't live with my Mum and Malcolm and it was a real treat for all of my friends to go and visit with me. It was normal to take one friend with me when I visited but not all of them at the same time. We completely took over their house and it was such a special weekend. Not sure if the restaurant is still there as I haven't been in that neck of the woods for a long time. M&M moved back to the North East soon after my 18th. Anyway, THANK YOU M&M. It was a great 18th birthday and I have really fond memories, some great pics too. x


Kelly-Jane said...

Your stew looks great. I'm with you on the gravy! and your greek salad looks yummy too.

Taramasalata I haven't had that for so long! I can almost hear the bleats of 'I don't have to eat that do I?' coming now! but all the more for us :)

Nora B. said...

Amanda, what a wonderful recollection about your 18th birthday! It's wonderful that M & M arranged all that for you. And your stew looks great. I am very much into stew season at the moment with the very cold weather we've been having.

Truffle said...

This sounds wonderful and the whole meal looks absolutely gorgeous! That stew would be perfect for the cold weather we're having here. Is it warm over there?

Pat said...

The stew looks really yummy as does the salad!!!

Asha said...

That is a great meal Amanda.My kids would love it:))

Culinary Cowgirl said...

I adore Greek food...in fact, that's what we are having tonight. The stew sounds delightful.

Pat said...

Amanda, I just wanted to say a big thanks!!! If it weren't for your suggestion I wouldn't have the wonderful cooker that I have today!!! It is just soooooo cool!!! I have only done a stir fry so far, planning on a cake tomorrow, but I just love it!!!! Thanks!!!!!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

K-J, I finished the taramasalata for lunch today. I hadn't had it for years. It was great! I might try and make some of my own in future as I dread to think what's in the shop bought stuff..

Nora, Thank you, I felt I needed/wanted to acknowledge it.

Truffle, Thank you, the stifado was delicious and there's plenty for leftovers so I expect it will taste even better then.

Pat, Thank you and re: your other comment. I'm so pleased you got your new cooker. Have lots of fun with it!

Asha, Thank you

Culinary Cowgirl, Intrigued now as to what you're having.. Enjoy whatever it is.

Thank you

Patricia Scarpin said...

Amanda, I cook a lot of beef because my husband won't go without it. This dish would make him so happy!
And I'd be more than happy with the salad. :)

Cynthia said...

Meat and potatos - the ultimate good-feel food. Stew looks rich Amanda.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi Patricia, My husband is the same. If we go too long without red meat he starts demanding steak.

Hi Cynthia, It was rich!

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Glad you have great memories of
your 18th birthday party.
We love you lots.

Cottage Smallholder said...

That Greek salad looks scrummy, Amanda. I love taramasalata with warm pitta bread too.

This blog is such fun and truly inspirational.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Mum, xxxxxxx!

Cottage Smallholder, Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.

tash said...

I'm a big fan of stews, especially on a cold Winter's day - but I know what you mean about the texture. I think a stew must have the right beef, preferrably shin, brisket or skirt - the three "cheap" cuts, which have more flavour but need a long slow cook.

My husband made a Huatía from an Aztec / Inca / Maya cookbook which is a strange long-cooked beef dish which we found not only tasted *amazing*, it looked fantastic too!

A similar recipe can be found here [link]

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Thanks for the link Tash it sounds delicious!

David Hall said...

Hi Amanda

I've just done a post on Stifado after a funny experience I had recently! Just surfing your Blog and come across this. Funny how these amazing historical foods change recipe from place to place. Yours looks scrummy, mine is scrummy! Will try yours next time.



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