Braised Beef - Greek Style
350g pickling onions or large shallots - peeled
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 kg beef - cheeks or brisket - cut into 5cm pieces
20ml red wine vinegar
150ml red wine
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp finely grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp finely ground cloves
1/2 tsp finely ground cumin
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic - peeled and sliced
1 tbsp tomato paste
400g tinned tomatoes in their own juice - chopped
800ml water - to cover
1 tbsp brown sugar
salt and pepper
Pre-heat oven to 130c
Put onions into a roasting tray with 1 tbsp oil and roast for 20 - 25 minutes until golden, but not cooked through.
Put a heavy-based casserole on a medium heat, add 1 tbsp oil and when hot, add beef - in batches and sear to brown all sides.
Add red wine vinegar and red wine to casserole and bring to the boil to burn the alcohol off.
Add cinnamon, cloves, nutmegs, cumin, bay leaf, garlic, tomato paste and tomatoes to casserole and stir to combine.
Add water, to just cover - sugar and salt and pepper.
Bring back to the boil, cover the mixture with baking paper, then put the lid on the casserole.
Put casserole into the pre-heated oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove from the oven, stir and add the part-cooke onions.
Return the casserole to the oven and cook a further 1 to 1 1/2 hours or till the meat is very tender.
Season to taste.