This is a great comfort food recipe! It takes some time to make but well worth it. Maybe for one of those snowed in days or family Sunday dinners. Adapted from Cooking with Loula, Greek recipes from my family to yours, by Alexandra Stratou.
Beef Stew with Smoked Eggplant Puree
- 2 pounds boneless beef brisket, cut into 1-inch pieces
- salt and pepper
- 2 onions
- 3 whole cloves
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 pounds eggplant
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ground nutmeg [/recipe=ingredients]
- Season the beef with salt. Peel one of the onions and stick the cloves into it. Finely chop the other onion. Add about 1/2-inch of oil to a large pot set over high heat. Add the beef and brown on all sides. Set the beef aside.
- To the pot add the chopped onion, garlic, the whole onion. Reduce the heat to medium and cook till the onions are golden. Add the wine and bring to a boil until the alcohol has evaporated.
- Add the beef back to the pot, along with any accumulated juices. Add the tomato paste, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and some pepper. Add water barely covering the meat. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer for 1 hour 1/2. Check occasionally and add water if needed.
- Add the tomatoes, season to taste and cook for another hour, uncovered., on low heat. Taste, season and add the sugar.
- While the meat is cooking, prepare the eggplant. Pierce the eggplants all over, then smoke them by putting them in a broiler. Turn over constantly until charred and soft. Cut in half and scoop out the inside flesh. Place in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl to collect the juices.
- Make a béchamel. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and all the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until it becomes golden. Whisk in the milk and eggplant juices. Cook for 20 minutes infill it becomes a thick béchamel. Remove from the heat and add the cheese and season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Chop up the eggplant flesh and add to the béchamel. Season to taste once more.
- Remove the whole onion, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf from the meat before serving. Make a mount of the eggplant puree on a platter and top with the beef.