The renowned British chef chose to cook Greek stifado, a stew that is ‘as rich and warming as it is tasty and health’.
‘This is definitely the time of year to embrace things that make you feel good, things that are healthy, and things that are good for your pocket too’ Oliver says and starts preparing the food.
1¹/³ pounds (600 grams) baby onions
2½ pounds (1.2 kilograms) beef shank, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
4 fresh bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1½ teaspoons allspice berries
½ cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon dried mint
1 28-ounce (796 ml) can plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato purée (a.k.a. strained crushed tomatoes or Italian passata)
2 cups dry red Greek wine
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small dried red chilli (optional)
1 large or 2 small quince (just over 1 pound)
Lemon juice, to taste, plus extra for the quince
2 cups brown rice
Extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 275 F. Peel the baby onions: This is easiest if you cook them in a pan of boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes first, then rinse with cold water before peeling.
2. Heat a large casserole pan over a medium heat and add a good splash of oil. Sauté the baby onions until softened and golden brown, about 10 minutes, then transfer to a bowl.
3. In the same pan, brown the beef all over, in batches, if need be. Remove and set aside. Add a drizzle of oil to the pan, then the sliced onion, garlic, parsley stalks, bay, oregano, allspice, cinnamon and mint. Cook for 10 minutes, until softened and browning slightly.
4. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, wine, vinegar and baby onions. Lower the meat into the pan and just cover with water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat and season, then add the dried chilli, if using.
5. Cover with a piece of parchment paper then roast in oven for 4 hours or until the beef is really tender and beginning to fall apart and the sauce has thickened.
6. About 1 hour before the meat is done, add the quince. Peel, core and slice it into wedges just before you need it, rubbing each wedge with lemon juice as you add it to the pan – this stops it from going brown.
7. Meanwhile, cook the rice, with the cloves, according to package instructions.
8. Taste the stew and add lemon juice and more seasoning. Finely chop the parsley leaves and sprinkle over the top, with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve straightaway.