Braised beef with zucchini
This braised beef with zucchini (or courgettes if you prefer) is a classic Greek summer dish. By early summer, the farmers’ market stalls are filled with bright green zucchini and sun blushed tomatoes, perfect for this delicious casserole.
As my grandmother used to make it, it also reminds me of the brightest childhood summers. Joining the family for Sunday lunch after a quick swim sun bleached hair and rosy cheeks, the scent of the sea and Coppertone oil drifting in the air around us.
Although the beef is slow braised until almost melting for about an hour and a half, this can be prepared the night before and chilled. As always allow for a slightly longer cooking time for grassfed beef, making sure Then you can quickly prep the potatoes and zucchini and finish off in half an hour while the rest of the family are washing off the sea salt and hanging out swimsuits and towels in the happy chaos that usually follows a family’s return from the beach.
You will be gently frying the potatoes and zucchini before adding them to the braised beef, to help them absorb the tasty sauce. The potatoes will be almost disintegrating and thickening the sauce, while the lightly fried zucchini will lightly steam on top, perfectly cooked. You can skip this part with very little difference to the potatoes, but the zucchini might become mushy and watery.
Braised beef with zucchini recipe
- 1 kg grass fed beef, in portions
- 4 tbsp olive oil or ghee/clarified butter
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 4 allspice berries
- 4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
- 500 ml homemade stock, hot
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 400 gr. tomatoes, grated
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled, in thick chunks
- 8 medium zucchini, in thick chinks (if large cut in half first)
- Optional: chopped mint and parsley to serve
Heat a heavy bottomed pan on high heat. Pat down and dry the meat with kitchen paper and season. Add 1 tbsp of the oil to the pan, then brown the meat in batches on all sides. Set aside. Lower the heat to medium and add the onions. Sauté the onion until translucent then add the garlic and tomato paste. Cook for 30″, then add the meat and juices to the pan. Add enough hot stock to almost cover the meat. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and gently cook for 1 hour. Add the grated tomatoes, bring to the boil, then continue to simmer leaving the lid ajar, only partially covering the pan.
In a large frying pan, add the rest of the oil and gently fry the potatoes until they change color a bit. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the pan. Season well and stir through. Add the zucchini carefully to the hot frying pan and gently fry in batches until they get a little color. Remove with a slotted spoon. Once the meat is done and the sauce thick, add the zucchini on top and cover. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the zucchini is cooked through. Taste and season if needed. Serve with feta or kalamata olives and the chopped herbs