Cloves are small nail-like shaped flower buds that are dried…they have an aromatic sweet flavor, and can be bought whole or ground and are available all year round. Ground cloves are commonly used in baking, and whole cloves flavouring sauces.
I love using cloves when stewing fruits such as apples and quince, making preserves, in sugar syrups and cakes. I also love them in meat dishes with a red sauce with other spices… my favourite dish of course, being stifado – delicious.
I love the warmth of this dish, the sweetness of the cooked onions and the exotic aromas of the spices. It is often made with rabbit, but I love it with either veal or beef.
Here is my recipe for –
2 kilos pickling onions
1 kilo stewing beef (or veal) cut into chunks
1 x 680 mls tomato passata
¼ cup red wine
salt, to taste
3 bay leaves
10 whole cloves
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Peel and cut off the tops and tails of the onions and put aside.
In a large casserole dish, heat some olive oil and brown the meat. Add the onions. Pour in the tomato passata and 2 cups water and wine. Season with salt, add bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, garlic and peppercorns.
Cover and simmer for about 1 – 1 ½ hours or until meat and onions are tender and soft.
Serve with fresh crusty bread.