Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mediterranean beef stew

I find that most dishes come out better if I’ve had a bit of time to think about them before I start cooking, and begin with a clear idea of what the end product is going to taste like (and how I will get there). For this one, I deliberately wanted a slightly clichéd combination of Mediterranean ingredients. (I thought about this one when I was being forced by my children to hide under a duvet while they played hide-and-seek. They had told me where to hide, but still took 10 minutes to find me.)

IngredientsOlive oil
1 medium-sized onion
4 whole garlic cloves
1 kg of beef – cut in chunks
2 glasses of red wine
250 g of chopped tomatoes (fresh or tinned)
150 g of halved sundried tomatoes
150 g of black olives
¼ lemon
4 large sprigs of fresh rosemary

  1. Chop the onion (but not too small) and separate the garlic cloves (but leave the skins on). Fry the onion in a large saucepan with the olive oil, and when it is nearly done, add the whole garlic cloves.
  2. Once the onion is translucent, add the chunks of beef, and fry until the meat has coloured. Pour in the wine, and add the tomatoes and olives, mix well and heat, then add just enough stock to cover and place the quarter lemon in the centre. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to minimum, cover and simmer for about an hour.
  3. Taste the sauce for salt, and add a little if required. (The dish may well not need any, depending on how salty your tomatoes, olives and stock are.) Place the rosemary sprigs gently on top of the stew and continue to cook for another hour or so until the beef is tender. Remove the rosemary sprigs before serving.

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