A Stifado is a meaty stew with beef and baby shallot onions. The best part is the thick sauce which is made slightly sweet by the onions.
1Kg lean beef – cubed. 500g baby shallot onions – peeled. 1 large onion chopped. 1 large juicy tomato – chopped. 2 table-spoons of tomato paste. 1/2 nutmeg crushed (put it into a bag and hit it with a rolling-pin!) 1 cinnamon stick and 3 cloves. 4 garlic cloves – finely chopped. 1 vegetable stock cube (optional) Rosemary sprig or two. 1 small wineglass of extra-virgin olive oil. 1 glass of red or white wine. 2 table-spoons of vinegar. Fresh coarsely ground black pepper and salt.
1. Add the beef to large frying pan or casserole dish. Place on a high heat, stirring occasionally until meat is sealed.
2. Add the olive oil, chopped onions and garlic. Continue cooking on a high heat, until the onions have turned soft. (About 5 mins)
3. Add wine and vinegar, leave on heat but covered for another 5 mins.
4. Next nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, rosemary, stock cube and a good pinch of black pepper. Keep stirring while the ingredients blend, on a moderate heat. Add salt to taste.
5. Keep heating while adding the chopped tomatoes, wine, vinegar and tomato paste.
6. Turn out into a casserole dish (Terracota), with lid. Add 1 litre of hot water so as to cover the meat. Cook in oven until the meat is nearly cooked – about one hour.
7. While waiting, peel the baby shallot onions, wash them and shallow fry them in a little olive oil, until soft, not letting them burn.
8. Add the shallots (but not the oil) to the simmering meat and leave in the oven until the meat is thoroughly cooked (soft and tender) – at least another hour – add water if needed (don’t let it dry out), so that you end up with a rich thick sauce.