5 tbsp (75 ml) olive oil
2 ½ lb (1.1 kg) lean stewing beef, cut into 1 ½ in (4 cm) cubes
1 medium onion, very finely sliced
2 carrots, chopped
3 tbsp (45 ml) finely chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 bay leaf
A few fresh thyme sprigs, or pinch of dried thyme
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 cup (8 fl oz) (250 ml) red wine
14 oz (400 g) can plum tomatoes, chopped, with their juice
½ cup (4 fl oz) (120 ml) beef or chicken stock
About 15 black olives, stoned and halved
1 large red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
Salt and ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) (gas 4). Heat 3 tbsp (45 ml) of the oil in a large, heavy, flameproof casserole. Brown the meat, a little at a time, turning it to colour on all sides. Remove each batch to a plate while the remaining meat is browned.
2. When all the meat cubes have 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, stock and olives and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the casserole and place in the centre of the oven. Bake for 1 ½ hours.
4. Remove the casserole from the oven. Stir in the strips of red pepper. Return the casserole to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes more or until the beef is tender. Serve hot.
From 50 Italian Classics