Greek Spiced Beef & Onion Stew

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When you look down the list of ingredients, you might think some stock has been missed off the list, but it hasn’t. The small amount of added liquid and the cooking juices combine to make a thick, fragrant sauce.

Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 7 hours on LOW

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra if needed
  • 450 g/1 lb shallots or baby onions, peeled and an ‘X’ cut in the base of each
  • 4 large garlic cloves, halved
  • 750 g/1 lb 10 oz boneless beef leg, trimmed of fat and cut into large chunks
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 450 g/1 lb tomatoes, grated and skins discarded
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • a pinch of caster sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped mint or coriander leaves, to serve
  • boiled potatoes, to serve

Method

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallots and fry, stirring, for 3–5 minutes until just starting to turn golden. Add the garlic and stir for a further 1–2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shallots and garlic to the slow cooker.

Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Add the beef and fry for 3–5 minutes until browned, working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan and adding extra oil, if necessary. Transfer the beef to the cooker.

Just before the final batch of beef finishes browning, add the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves and nutmeg and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the vinegar and tomatoes and stir until the vinegar evaporates.

Transfer the beef mixture to the cooker. Put the tomato purée and 4 tablespoons water in a small bowl and stir until dissolved, then stir into the beef mixture. Stir in the sugar and season with salt and pepper. The beef and onions will not be completely covered with liquid.

Cover the cooker with the lid and cook on LOW for 7 hours until the beef is tender. Remove and discard the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks, and add a little more salt and pepper, if you like. Serve sprinkled with mint, and with boiled potatoes.