Stew! Spezzatino!


It wasn’t supposed to be another long slow cooked beef dish. It was supposed to be a long slow cooked venison dish, all northern Italian goodness for a quiet autumn weekend

As usual, any last minute food plans depend on the local supermarket having what I need, and while my local supermarket is the rather splendid Waitrose (the kind of supermarket that thinks ironing water belongs in their “essentials” range) usually has a selection of fancy meats, Unfortunately this Friday there was no venison.

Tired and not keen to be out too long, I shoved some beef in my trolley and went on my way.

So on Saturday, I was without a recipe and not having the nice relaxing weekend I had hoped. I could have repeated my tried and tested polpo beef recipe (which is delicious – see previous blog) but it also needs a good 24 hours marinade.

I turned to the internet and an Australian website that presented me with the recipe for Spezzatino Di Manzo.

I had pretty much everything I needed so I made an immediate start (although no marinade, it was a few hours of cooking).

As usual, beef is tossed in flour and browned. The recipe suggests gently frying off the vegetables next, but with the cooked on flour, that needed removing, so in went a glass of wine and the bottom vigorously scraped. Also note, the recipe calls for dry white wine, but I thought red would be better.

Vegetables go in, along with pancetta, wine and stock. Then the beef is added, the lid popped on and its cooked on a low heat, the recipe says for an hour and twenty minutes, but as the meat wasn’t too tender I left it for two hours.

The pan then is uncovered to cook and thicken for, again the recipe says 40 minutes, but I went for an hour. Towards the end, a handful of capers and a handful of green olives are added.

In something of a cultural exchange, I also made some English dumplings. However as it’s an Italian stew I cut my dumpling mix with a large amount of grated parmesan.

For a last minute find, this is a pretty good recipe. The meat could certainly do with a marinade (such an obsession of mine) but the addition of olives and capers is inspired.

For the recipe, see:

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