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Italian Beef Stew with Red Wine (serves 4-6)

     

Ingredients:

   
75 ml or 5 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1.2 kg or 2.5 lb boneless beef steak, cut into 3 cm / 1.5 inch cubes
1 medium onion, very finely sliced
2 carrots, chopped
45 ml or 3 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, or pinch of dried thyme leaves
pinch of ground nutmeg
250 ml or 8 fl oz of red wine
400 g or 14 oz can of plum tomatoes, chopped with their juice
100 ml or 4 fl oz of beef or chicken broth
15 black olives, stoned and halved
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large red sweet pepper, cut into strips
 
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees / 350 F / gas mark 4.  Heat 45 ml or 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy casserole.  Brown the meat, a little at a time, turning it to colour on all sides.  Remove to a side plate while the remaining meat is being browned.
  2. When all the meat has been browned and removed, add the remaining oil, the onion and carrots. Cook over a low heat until the onion softens.  Add the parsley and garlic, and cook for 3-4 minutes more.
  3. Return the meat to the pan, raise the heat, and stir well to mix the vegetables with the meat.  Stir in the bay leaf, thyme and nutmeg.  Add the wine, bring to the boil and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes, broth and olives, mix well. Season with salt and pepper.  Cover the casserole, and place in the centre of the preheated oven.  Bake for 90 minutes.
  4. Remove the casserole from the oven.  Stir in the strips of pepper. Return the casserole to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes more, or until the beef is tender.
     
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