Sunday, 26 June 2011

My summer Sunday lunch - straight from the Mediterranean

Obviously living in a North London suburb which has a very large Greek Cypriot community has rubbed off on me because when I want to make something delicious at the weekend I often turn to Greek dishes that bring rich flavours yet are simple to make.

I had the in-laws coming to lunch and as the weather forecast was set for extemely hot I decided to cook a Stifado on Saturday so that the flavours really came out over-night in the fridge. Stifado is a rich beef stew cooked with onions, red wine, red wine vinegar and spices. It's found throughout Cyprus and on the menu of nearly all our local Greek restaurants as is a traditional staple. Here is my recipe...

Beef Stifado for 6-7 people

1.5kilos of braising or stewing steak
1kilo of small onions or ordinary onions cut into largish slices
Olive oil for frying
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
200ml red wine
1 teaspoon sugar
2 bay leaves

Fry the chunks of beef in batches to brown all over. Fry the onions separately and remove for later. Replace all in a heavy casserole and add garlic and vinegar - bring to boil. Add all the other ingredients except the onions and add water so that the juices cover the meat. Cook in a low oven for two hours at least. Add the onions and cook for a further half an hour. Towards the end remove the lid of the casserole so the sauce reduces down and becomes rich and thick.

As you can see from the picture I served this with Cyprus potatoes roasted, roasted red pepper and onion which had been tossed in olive oil and fennel seeds, a green salad with lettuce fresh from the garden, assorted olives from our local Turkish deli, bread and pickled garlic. Nothing was left over!

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