Stifado with Orzo

I’ve been searching for orzo for months – none in M&S, Sainsbury’s, Asda or Morrison’s – but today I stumbled across a shelf of orzo in the world foods section of an out-of-the-way Tesco. I was so happy. So what’s an orzo when it’s at home? As far as I can tell, it’s a Mediterranean rice-like pasta, often used in soups but equally in salads (this is how I found out about orzo on a flight to Honiara from Fiji strangely enough!) and served as any other warm pasta. As someone who dislikes rice and doesn’t particularly succeed in the cooking of it, orzo is my perfect solution. And at 45p for a 500g bag, it’s pretty good value too!

I’ve had stifado on my mind for a while. Again, from what I gather it’s a Greek beef and onion stew – but any meat seems to go and any variety of veg chucked in too. Its hallmark is the combination of wine, wine vinegar, cinnamon, rosemary and sometimes honey to make an aromatic almost sweet and sour stew. My recipe called for the addition of potatoes, but I wasn’t in a potato mood so I was going to go for a doorstop of bread to soak up the gravy until I spotted the orzo and I knew I had to have it with the stifado. Is it unorthodox? Who knows, but it was a pretty good taste combination.

I have been plundering my one pot book that I bought from Oxfam before Christmas. Its winning quality is that it consists of easy recipes that you bung into a stockpot or wok, but the downside is that it tends to anglicise and tone down the flavours so I just use my judgement and add a bit more. I’ll add even more next time for more depth of flavour, but this is what I did today:

Ingredients serves 3

  • 1 tin tomatoes (450g ish)
  • 150 ml beef stock
  • 400 g shallots, peeled but whole
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 400 g diced beef
  • veg (I used carrots, the recipe specified potatoes – whatever)
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt
  • pepper

How to Make it

In a large pan, cook the shallots and garlic over a low heat for about 5 minutes until coloured. Remove from pan and brown the beef in batches. Add the shallots and garlic back. Tip in the tomatoes, stock, wine, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, rosemary, cinnamon, bay leaves and honey. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook for 2 hours on the lowest possible heat until meat is tender.

p.s. the stifado is coeliac friendly, the orzo is TOTALLY not

6 responses to “Stifado with Orzo

  1. missbliss July 3, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    To let you in on a secret… it’s because 1) I don’t really like to cook it 2) because we ate it every day for 2 months so I’ve kind of had it up to here *points somewhere above head*

  2. seamaiden July 3, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Hrmm, how’d I miss that? Well, anyway, er, nicely done. 😉-SeaPS rice is the best food ever, dunno how anyone could not like it! haha

  3. missbliss July 3, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    hence the “p.s.” 🙂

  4. seamaiden July 3, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    It looks beautiful, but orzo is a pasta made from wheat (semolina) and so is not gluten-free. 🙂-Sea

  5. Anonymous April 29, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    i love reading your blog, the pictures always look so good! really looking forward to trying the recipes.. once i have time. could you please put the recipe of your chocolate cake with icing that TLM ate for breakfast on your blog? thanks lots!

  6. Pixie April 28, 2008 at 6:07 am

    It took me ages to find orzo too. I eventually found it in a Polish shop in town but I’ll have to have a stop over at Tesco’s next time. That is, once I finally open the orzo bag.

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