Spicy Braised Beef from Corfu (Pastitsada)

Region: Corfu,Greece

Pastitsada is usually served in Corfu, as a traditional dish.



3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

20 gr. butter

500 gr. onions, finely sliced (4-5 onions)

0.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon

0.25 teaspoon cloves

2 tablespoons tomato puree, diluted in a little hot water

salt and black pepper

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1.75 kg piece of top rump, or rolled brisket

4 tablespoons olive oil

500 gr. spaghetti, to serve




In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper. Make frequent deep slits around the meat and fill them with some of the garlic mixture, pressing it down inside the meat until it is all used up. Heat the oil and butter in a large ovenproof casserole and seal the meat until lightly brown all over. Take out the meat, add the onions and stir until they start to colour. Put the meat back into the saucepan and add enough hot water to come just below its top surface; then add the tomato puree and salt and pepper. Cover and cook slowly, turning the meat over frequently and stirring the onions to prevent them sticking, until the meat is tender - about 1.5 hours.

Alternatively, cook in a pre-heated oven, gas no.3/ 350 grades/ 170 grades C for 2 hours, turning the meat and the onions occasionally.

When the meat is tender, put the dish on the hob, slowly pour the vinegar over the meat and let it bubble uncovered for 5 minutes, guarding against the onions sticking. By then, there should be a deliciously reduced sauce, smooth and sweet with the melted onions. If not, take out the meat and cook the sauce, uncovered, rapidly until it is reduced. Discard the string, slice the meat and put it back into the sauce.

Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Serve immediately with the sauce over the pasta and the meat on the side.

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