The joke’s on stew

This clas­sic, slow-cooked Tus­can beef stew in­volves just six in­gre­di­ents, though this one comes with one ex­tra – a great story, which, as we know, makes all food taste bet­ter

The Guardian - Cook - - A kitchen in Rome -

and lib­er­al­ity, bring­ing in­gre­di­ents to­gether in a sim­ple and sat­is­fy­ing way. It is just the thing for these win­try days.

You come across lots of ver­sions and in­ter­pre­ta­tions of this dish, some that be­gin with a sof­fritto, oth­ers that in­clude root veg­eta­bles, many that are rusty red with tomato. The clas­sic ver­sion, how­ever, is pared down and es­sen­tial. Just six in­gre­di­ents – beef, olive oil, wine, gar­lic, salt, pep­per. Add to this, heat and time – at least two hours at the sort of sim­mer that has you peer­ing un­der the pan to check the flame hasn’t gone out. Like the beans last week, there is ev­ery­day alchemy at work here, the slow cook­ing al­low­ing the wine to seep into the meat, ren­der­ing it ten­der and re­ally dark, the gar­lic sim­mer­ing into sweet­ness and then dis­solv­ing. Then there is the pep­per – lots of it – which sea­sons the meat and deep­ens the flavour of the sauce, pro­vid­ing throat-warm­ing heat and spice. It isn’t as fiery as you would imag­ine, de­spite the pos­si­bly

Warm the olive oil in a heavy-based casse­role or stock­pot, then brown the meat in batches over a medium heat. Re­turn all the meat to the pan, add the peeled but whole gar­lic cloves, the red wine and a pinch of salt. Use a pes­tle and mor­tar to pound the pep­per­corns un­til fine, then add that to the pan.

Bring the pan al­most to a boil, then cover and re­duce to a sim­mer for 2-2½ hours or un­til the meat is very ten­der but still hold­ing its shape. If you like, re­move the lid for the last 45 min­utes to re­duce the sauce. If you want it re­duced fur­ther, re­move the meat and boil the sauce un­til slightly thick­ened, then re­turn the meat to the pan.

Taste and add more salt and pep­per if needed. Ide­ally al­low to rest for a few hours – bet­ter still, overnight – then re­heat gently.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.