This Greek stew uses a blend of sweet and sour tastes to give it its unique character.

Cooking Time 3 1/4 hours

Serves 6–8 

4 tablespoons olive oil

1.8 kg (4lb) round or chuck beef in 3 cm (1 in) cubes

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 onions, finely chopped

500 g potato diced

1 bunch of Dutch carrots

9 cloves garlic, crushed

3 tablespoons tomato puree past

250 ml (1 cup) dry red wine

3 tablespoons tomato paste (puree)

Method

Heat half the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and brown the beef in batches, adding more oil as needed. Put the beef in a bowl, then sprinkle with the cumin and set aside. Add more oil and soften the onions and garlic over a low heat for 5–6 minutes. Return the meat to the pot.

Stir in the wine, increase heat and deglaze the pot. Add 500 ml (2 cups or beef stock) or water, the tomato paste and wine vinegar and bring to the boil. Add potatoes, sweet potato and carrots. Add the cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and sugar, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reduce the heat, cover with a double layer of foil and put the lid on. Simmer over very low heat for 1 hour.

Peel the onions and cut a cross in the base. Add to the pot along with the currants. Continue cooking for a further 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is very tender and the sauce is thick. Discard the cinnamon sticks and the bay leaves. If adding feta, stir in and simmer for 3–4 minutes uncovered. Taste for seasoning and serve straight from the pot with rice or mash.