Stamna, Beef With Cinnamon
Stamna from Corfu
Photograph by Steve Lister
Corfu has many local specialities one of those is Stamna. This is a filling stew which can be made from beef or lamb. The robust cinnamon flavour gives the whole dish a surprising taste. I believe that the actual bowl which the dish is served in is called a Stamna and obviously this is where it takes its name from. Many Corfiot dishes, like this one, use plenty of meat so each person has more than enough. Serves 4
750 gm. good quality beef or lamb Avoid fat as it makes the meat fall apart during cooking.
3-4 tsp. plain flour
1/4 tsp. salt
125 ml. olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
3-4 heaped tsp. cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp. cloves, powdered
1 tsp. black pepper
1 heaped tsp. sweet paprika
1/2-1 cup of red wine (1 cup approximately 250 ml)
2-3 good quality meat stock cubes (you can use a few tbsp. of concentrated meat stock instead)
Two 8 oz. tins of chopped tomatoes or a bottle of Passata tomato paste or 8 medium sized fresh tomatoes with skins removed and chopped
1 1/2 cups water
3-4 large potatoes peeled and cut in half, leaving large chunks.
2-3 large carrots peeled and cut into chunks (or 20-30 bite sized small frozen carrots).
A large handful of green beans topped and tailed and cut into 6-7 cm pieces.
1 tbsp. or 20 grams per bowl grated mild cheese for topping
Slice/cut meat into7-10cm chunks.
Add flour, salt and pepper to the meat and roll meat in this mix. Flour is required to thicken the gravy. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan
Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are softened.
Add cinnamon powder, clove powder, black pepper and paprika.
Stir fry for a minute, on low heat, to allow spices to give out their aroma.
Add the beef and stir fry on high, to seal the meat. Dont overcook at this stage.
When the meat is brown, add wine, to de-glaze the pan. This to get the spices that have stuck to the pan back into the meat.
Crumble in the stock cubes.
Add 2 tins of chopped tomatoes.
Add water, as the dish will need to cook on a low heat for a couple of hours, so that the meat is really tender.
Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer, continue cooking for 1 hour.
When the meat is almost ready, add potatoes, carrots and green beans to the pot. continue cooking for another 30 minutes so the potatoes are cooked.
When it is ready, dish it out into bowls (each bowl should have some chunks of meat and a couple of potatoes), sprinkle some mild grated cheese and place under a hot grill for a few minutes, to melt the cheese.
Serve with fresh bread and salad.
When cooking this dish you think you are putting too much cinnamon in, but when it cooks into the meat juices it blends away into the overall flavour, so use plenty.
Notes from Mamta:
I made this dish and in spite of a long list of ingredients, it is very easy to make. It tastes delicious, according to my husband and food taster!
I made this recipe using dehydrated Soya chunks and it came out very well. Use vegetarian stock cubes when cooking vegetarian.