You Say Stufato
A stufato is simply the Italian way to say stew. The version that appears below comes from my handwritten notes dating back about 40 years. Since writing a blog was the furthest thing from my mind then, I did not write down the author. Soooooooo, my apologies to the person(s) who came up with this delicious and easy peasy beef stew. For an old-fashioned Irish beef stew check this out.
So What is Kasha?
You could serve this warm and welcoming dish with some good chewy country bread, over rice, pasta or mashed potatoes, but I am serving it with a kasha pilaf. Kasha is roasted, whole grain buckwheat. And buckwheat is a great source of healthy fiber anti-oxidants and is rich in minerals. Best of all, it tastes great! While I am not in any way gluten-free, buckwheat is. I always make a lot because it is great as left-overs and stuffed in pita with chopped tomatoes and lettuce for a vegetarian or vegan lunch.
The Sum of Its Parts
I often find recipes with multiple parts and after I have made them, it turns out that I really only like the topping or the base but not what was in between. That’s how I came to make my Sriracha Cashews. So while beef stew definitely would not be appealing to a vegan, the buckwheat pilaf would. I have found inspiration in some unlikely places. I have successfully turned non-vegan recipes into vegan ones and clearly non-Kosher recipes into Kosher acceptable meals. So before you go dismissing a recipe, see if you can’t find some take-away that you can use.
Recipe for Stufato
Yield: 4-5 servings
- 2 pounds of beef stew meat, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 4 Tablespoons EVOO
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
- Up to 2 cups of a dry red wine like a Cabernet (use whatever you plan on drinking)
- 14.5 ounce can of a quality diced tomato (preferably San Marzano)
- About 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1.5 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 2 bay leaves, dried or fresh
- 1 teaspoon each dried basil and thyme
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
- Additional chopped flat-leaf parsley for garnish (Optional)
- Heat EVOO in a heavy-duty saucepan with a cover. Add meat in a single layer, without crowding and brown on all sides. (I did this in batches. If you crowd the pan, the meat won’t brown.) Remove the meat to a dish while you prepare the rest of the stufato.
- Add the onion to the same pan that you browned the meat in and sprinkle with the brown sugar and about a teaspoon of salt. Saute the onion until it becomes soft, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as you go. (The juices from the onion should be sufficient to de-glaze the pan and all of those browned bits from the meat add flavor.)
- Once the onion has softened, add the wine to just cover the meat (you don’t want to drown the meat – just barely cover it), tomatoes, garlic, and herbs and stir through to mix. Now add back your meat and any juices and give another stir. Add some cracked black pepper and stir once more. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook on low for 2 hours. Adjust your seasonings and discard the bay leaves before serving.
Recipe for Buckwheat Pilaf (Vegan)
Yield: About 4 cups (Can be doubled)
- 1 cup of roasted whole grain buckwheat (Kasha)
- 2 Tablespoons of EVOO or butter
- 2 cups of hot broth (Vegetarian, chicken or beef, preferably unsalted) (If using salted broth, eliminate the additional salt mentioned below.)
- 1/2 cup each: chopped yellow onion, sliced mushrooms, celery and carrots
- About 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the butter or oil and add the vegetables. Saute the vegetables until slightly softened.
- Add the hot broth (and salt, if adding) and bring to a boil. Add the kasha and stir through. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 12 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed. Uncover the pot and fluff the pilaf with a fork before serving.