Stracotto

Pot-Roasted Beef

This delicious, juicy and soft pot-roasted beef is an ancient dish which goes back several centuries in Italian peasant cookery. Originally the pot used to make it in would have been made of glazed terracotta with a tight-fitting lid. In those days no other flavouring ingredients were added; the dish was simply the best quality stewing beef cooked in plenty of robust red wine.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg (3 lb) stewing beef in one piece, rolled and tied into shape
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut lengthways into strips
  • 50 g ( oz) pork dripping
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 85 g (3 oz) butter
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée diluted in about 300 ml (11 fl oz) stock, plus extra stock if required
  • salt and pepper

Method

Pierce the meat with a skewer and insert slivers of garlic into the holes. Mix the dripping with the chopped vegetables, then put this mixture into a deep, heavy pan into which the meat fits. Add the butter and fry the vegetables for 5 minutes. Then add the meat and seal it all over.

Pour in the stock mixture and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a tight lid and cook very slowly for 5 or 6 hours, basting the meat every now and again with more stock and turning it over.

At the end of the cooking time, remove the meat from the sauce. Slice it thickly and arrange on a serving dish, pour over the sauce from the pot and serve at once.

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