Stifado

Country: 
Cyprus

This main course can is well liked all over Cyprus in the different variations presented here.

Lefkara, a small town up in the mountains between Larnaca and Limassol, is famous for the variation of stew (ttavas) as presented here. The different types of meat, fish and vegetables are popular in other areas, based on the availability of the main ingredient, local custom and the time of the year. In periods of lent the meat is replaced with either fish during the pre-Christmas period or vegetables during the more solemn pre-Easter period.

Ingredients: 

1 kilo of beef, preferably neck-end, cut into cubes about the size of an egg
5-6 potatoes cut in small cubes
7 onions cut into slices (or more in some variations based on taste for a stifado onion stew )
Olive oil or corn oil - just enough to cover the bottom of the casserole
1-2 cups of chopped tomatoes
Two full table spoons of tomato paste
Salt, pepper and cumin (to taste)

Process: 

1. Pour the oil into the casserole, heat well and brown the meat pieces. As they are being sautéed you add salt, pepper and cumin.

2. When it is browned, remove it the casserole and transfer it a large bowl.

3. Then follow the same procedure for the potatoes adding them to the bowl with the meat when they are browned.

4. Then do the same with the tomatoes adding the onions at this stage and again, seasoning with salt, pepper and cumin. Add to the meat and potatoes and mix well.

5.Ttake a large clay pot and pour the ingredients inside, once more adding salt, pepper and cumin to taste. Cover the top of this mixture with the 2 full tablespoons of tomato paste and spread it all over, finishing off with a bit more pepper and cumin.

6. Cover the pot with either a foil or it own lid and put it into pre-heated oven around 180 degrees and cook it for about 3-4 hours. If the stew gets too dry you may want to add some water.

healthy alternative: 

The beef can be replaced by other types of meat such as lamb, rabbit ( wild game or domesticated) and on fast days sometimes with Cod fish or vegetables (especially during lent periods). This will reduce the fat content and make the Stifado even healthier!

If rabbit is used then you need to add ½ cup of red vinegar and more onions instead of potatoes..