Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bad Boy's Stifado

The food pantry in my childhood house in Athens was full of food supplies, ready to be used by my YiaYia for our big family's daily cooking needs.  Wines, vinegars, oil, sugar, flour, various legumes, onions, garlic,etc. filled the little room. Well, as a young boy, I was quite wild , interested in absolutely everything and usually up to no good.  The food pantry was one of my favorite places, giving me access to unlimited, free ammunition for my "mean" slingshot!

     Every day after school the neighborhood boys would meet up on the streets.  We'd all have our wooden spades, slingshots in our back pockets, and plenty of "ammo"  filling our front pockets.  We would be riding our homemade scooters,looking for our sworn enemies from the upper neighborhood to race down the steep hill, and  of course, to pick a fight with. On one particular day, I  noticed  my YiaYia's gigantes (giant beans), were  getting to look pretty depleted. I also noticed something very interesting-baby shallot onions.  My gosh, they were perfect! They were round, hard and even delivered a nice sting when they found their target.  I thought they were the best ammunition ever.  Until..... the serving on my plate one evening was a beautiful piece of meat floating in an amazing sauce of baby onion ammunition! Really sooo tasty!  I requested that so much from that time on I had to switch back to gigantes for ammo.

Stifado  Beef with Baby Onions
3 1/2 lbs. beef, bottom round or your favorite cut for stewing (cut
into egg  size pieces)
2 lbs. baby shallot onions (carefully peeled)
2 1/2 Tables. tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
5 whole garlic cloves
pinch of cinnamon (optional)
1 sprig of fresh Rosemary
salt and pepper

     In a stew pot, lightly brown the beef in olive oil.  Add the remaining ingredients and enough water to cover the food; bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 3-4 hours without stirring.  The secret to this dish is the long cooking time to meld all of the flavors together.    Remove the bay leaves and sprig of rosemary; serve over potatoes or rice pilaf.. All you need to complete the meal is a green salad, feta and of course, crusty bread to dip up all that sauce!  We'll  do some gigantes (giant beans) real soon.

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