Saturday, 14 February 2009

Mediterranean Style One Pot Meal

NAME: _Mediterranean Style One Pot Meal

(See Notes - quantities are quite flexible)
500g beef or lamb, sliced about 1cm - 2cm thick
1 medium brown onion
handful fresh basil, say about 1/2 cupful to one cupful when chopped coarsely
250g - 500g string or runner beans
1 to 3 sticks celery
1/2 a medium green capsicum, give or take.
1 can chopped roma tomatoes (or 6 - 8 fresh roma tomatoes)
1/2 small green apple
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp raw sugar
1 clove garlic
salt to taste
1 tbsp olive oil/grapeseed oil mixed


Cut sliced meat down to about bite sized pieces.  Slice onion into thick rings, slice the half green apple into very thin slices.  Remove centre and seeds if desired.  If using fresh tomatoes chop finely.  Put the meat into a heavy saucepan or slow cooker or crockpot along with enough oil to wet the base of the pot, then layer onions and apple slices over, sprinkle with salt, and cover with chopped tomato.  Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes then reduce to lowest simmer.  Go away for about two hours.

Chop celery and capsicum into strips about as wide as the beans, and then chop the lot into quite small cubes, maybe 1/2cm (1/4") or so.  Crush the whole clove of garlic with the back of the knife, once.  Place all into a small saucepan, barely cover with water, and sprinkle with a bit of salt and sugar.  Bring to a fast simmer, let simmer for 5 minutes, then strain the vegetables and keep the water.  Once water has cooled, beat in the cornflour and slowly bring back to heat until it thickens.  Set both aside.

By now the meat should have been simmering for 2 - 3 hours and be very tender.  (Test with a skewer or fork, should be very soft.) Add the vegetables and stir in as much cornflour paste as needed to make the gravy to your preferred consistency, then let is simmer for another 30 minutes or so.

When it's done, cook up some pasta or gnocchi, serve meal over pasta.  Side of salad optional; but a nice touch.  Depending on quantities and pasta etc, this can serve up to four people.

Did I say "fresh basil?"  I did of course mean FRESH basil - preferably "grow your own and pick it a minute beforehand" kind of fresh.  All quantities in this are a bit flexible - but the fresher the vegetables, the better.  The meat is best if it's aged a little bit - buy it the day before and let it age loosely covered in the refrigerator or a cool place in the kitchen - it's just the flavouring, so make it good flavouring.

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