Dalmatian Stewed Beef
Though Dalmatia is best known for its seafood, one cannot omit this dish from a list of traditional Dalmatian specialties. This version is a bit more exotic with its use of fruits in the sauce and it requires 2 days for preparation. Though it calls for red wine, feel free to substitute white if that is your preference. Excellent served with boiled or mashed potatoes or even gnocchi or any other fresh pasta.
Serves 6 to 8
2 1/2 pounds beef round
6 to 8 slices smoked bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup mustard
3/4 cup cooking oil
3/4 pound soup vegetables, chopped (carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley root etc)
1 large onion, minced
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 fresh figs, slivered, or dried figs
3 pitted prunes, slivered
1 apple, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Day One: slit pockets into the meat and insert the bacon and garlic. Salt and pepper the meat and spread mustard mixed with ¼ cup cooking oil over the meat. Place on platter, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Day Two: heat ½ cup cooking oil on medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or deep stockpot with a lid. Brown the meat on all sides and then remove from skillet and set aside. Now sauté the vegetables and onion in the same skillet. When vegetables are soft, add the meat and stew about 2 hours, adding water and wine as needed.
When the meat has softened and is tender, add the tomato paste, figs, prunes and apple and continue to stew till the fruit is soft. Near the end, add the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. Remove the meat, slice, and place on platter. Strain the sauce and pour over the meat or serve separately alongside the meat.
$ Chop your vegetables the day before and store in a water-filled dish.
? Use less oil to sauté the vegetables. Reduce the amount of bacon, but do not omit entirely.
Source: The Best of Croatian Cooking