Tonight was a special dinner. To thank Byron’s parents for partly sponsoring our fantastic holiday, we cooked them a special dinner. We decided to make an Italian inspired four course menu. The starter was an antipasti of different meats, cheeses and olives. Our main was a Sicilian stew called monza a la caponata. We started off the dessert with tiramisu, after a brief resting phase we moved onto round two, don pedros and homemade cantuccini cookies. To end off the night we moved to the lounge to enjoy some tea coffee, accompanied with chocolate truffles. In this post we will share the recipe for the Sicilian stew with you.
Ingredients (for four):
•8 cloves of garlic
•300 ml red wine
•500 ml beef broth
•500 g canned tomatoes
•1 kg beef stew meat
•3 tbsp flour
•2 tbsp butter
•4 sprigs of thyme
•2 sprigs of rosemary
•2 celery stalks
•16 green asparagus
•2 tbsp capers
•75g pine nuts
•20 green olives
This is the part that makes this dish perfect for a dinner with multiple courses, you can prepare almost everything in advance!
Peel and cut the onions in quarters and slice the garlic. Peel the carrots and cut them in 1 cm thick slices. Sweat the onions and garlic until glassy in a pan with some good quality olive oil, then add the carrots. Cook the vegetable mixture for about 2 minutes. Pour the red wine and stock in the pan and bring to the boil. (If you leave a glass full of wine behind for later in case, you can enjoy the rest of the wine while you cooking ;) ) Let it simmer for at least 10 minutes.
In the meantime cut the meat in 2 cm blocks and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour on a plate and roll the meat through it until every piece got some flour on it.
Preheat a pan with olive oil and butter on middle heat. Brown the meat on every side quickly and add to the sauce. Make sure all the meat is covered with at least one cm of sauce. Bring slowly to the boil and leave it to simmer without a lit (!) for at least 2.5 hours. We cooked it for six hours, the longer the better it's going to taste. You just have to check once in awhile if the meat is still covered. Otherwise add some water or more wine.
Preparing the asparagus and garnish:
Peel the parts of the asparagus that have a thick skin and cut the bottom 1.5 cm off. Cook them in boiling water with sea salt for 2 min and then rinse with ice cold water to cool down. Keep them in the fridge until you need them later.
Rinse the capers with cold water and dry them. Roast the pine nuts in a pan and leave them to cool down on a plate. Cut the courgette in half and slice in about 1 cm thick pieces. Spread a tablespoon of salt over and leave for 15 minutes to extract the water. Squeeze the extracted water out of the courgette and leave in the fridge until later.
Just before dinner:
Add the thyme and rosemary (in a bundle) to the stew, peel and slice the celery stalks into 0.5 cm thick pieces. Add 30 minutes before serving the celery and courgette to the stew.
Preheat a grill pan and drizzle olive oil over the asparagus. Grill them until golden brown striped.
Remember to take the thyme and rosemary bundle out of the sauce before dishing up!