IN HER fascinating book on Corfu, Ninetta Laskari claims that this dish is part of the Venetian heritage of the island. She writes that it got its name from the stua—the small openings on the cooler side of the old wood-burning kitchen stoves that were used for simmering. “There, we used to cook food in covered pots for hours or overnight. On the stua, one cooks the stoufado, various meats accompanied with all sorts of vegetables or beans. In the rest of Greece, meat cooked with pearl onions and scented with bay leaves is called stifado,” she explains.
My recipe is inspired by the many variations on Corfiot stoufado I found in Laskari’s book.
2poundsboneless veal shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thickly sliced into half-moons
1½cupsdry red wine
3garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1teaspoondried rosemary, crumbled
1teaspoondried thyme, crumbled
freshly ground black pepper
1½cups diced celery
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed (fronds and tender stalks reserved), halved and thinly sliced
In a large bowl, combine the veal, onion, ⅔cup of the wine, ¼cup of the oil, the garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme and pepper to taste. Toss well, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours, or overnight.
Remove the veal from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels; reserve the marinade.
In a large pot, heat the remaining ¼cup oil and sauté the veal in batches over high heat, turning, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved marinade, celery, sliced fennel, carrots, ½cup stock or water and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour, or until the veal is tender, adding more stock or water as needed. Increase the heat to high, stir in the remaining wine and reduce the liquid to a thick sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.
Sprinkle with the fennel fronds or dill and serve.