I recently got exposed to the culinary stylings of Chef Michael Psilakis at the Buick Discovery Tour near the Los Angeles area. Chef Psilakis has a number of restaurants in New York featuring Greek Cuisine. Additionally, he competed against fellow Greek and Iron Chef Michael Symon. Here is his recipe for Bodino Stifado. (Beef Stew with leeks)
Serves 4 to 6 family-style with potatoes, rice, or orzo
Braises like this are perfect for meat with tough muscle tissue and tendons (which come from the part of the animal that works hard), a great example of poverty cooking. This less expensive cut of meat develops its own natural and luscious sauce as it cooks. You want a little marbling in the meat, because it melts down as you cook and adds a lot of flavor to the sauce. You can use brisket, shanks, shoulder – all fairly tough meats – but save the filet mignon for the grill or a pan. It takes a little time to cook and become tender, but it’s a relatively easy setup, and once you get it onto the stove you don’t have to worry about it for about an hour. So you can do your laundry, or walk the dog, or make a salad.
A couple of days later, if you have any leftovers, you can shred the meat, then return the meat to the sauce and add your favorite pasta. The resulting dish is a Greek version of beef stroganoff.
The herbs are very important to the flavor development here, since I’m using water instead of stock, so use fresh herbs if possible.
- 3 tablespoons blended oil (90 percent canola, 10 percent extra-virgin olive)
- 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 ½ – inch chunks
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- ½ large Spanish or sweet onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 large leek, cut into thick rounds, washed well in cold water, drained
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 to 5 cups water
- 1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried leaves
- 1 large sprig rosemary
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 sprig sage
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped parsley