Dec 5, 2011

Redden Up

This week's I Heart Cooking Clubs theme is "A Study In Scarlet."
Anything red goes.
IHCC Tessa Kiros Button

When I came across a recipe titled "Reddened," I looked no more.
Because sometimes (most of the time) for someone thick like me, obvious is the best I can manage.

Not only is the title all about red...not only is the dish red...almost every ingredient in it is red (even if in name only).  
Red meat
Red onion
Red wine
Cinnamon (kind of a brownish red, right?)

Yep. Cinnamon. This may be the first time I've eaten beef with cinnamon. 
Those last three words packaged together...beef with cinnamon...something makes me wish I hadn't typed them.
There will be people who say, "Wait, what? Ewww." The cinnamon was background--the thing you only half-way notice. It's there on some level, but a deep-down buried one. The thing that makes the subject glow. Look good. Stand out. 

A Photoshop tool for beef.
The tool you don't think you'll ever use, but once you do you wonder why it took you so long.

Tessa Kiros says, "This is called reddened because, quite simply, the meat is cooked in tomato sauce."  Food From Many Greek Kitchens, page 272

By the way, there's also a recipe on the facing page titled "Lemoned."  Bet you can guess what goes on in that one.  See--obvious can be good.

Notes: The flavors were warm and wonderful.  The beef was tender and the sauce jammy just like the recipe promised.  I served this with Greek fries, as suggested in the recipe introduction.  Those were fantastic too.  (They'll make an appearance at the next IHCC potluck.)

The start of the recipe reminded me of making Cajun rice & gravy--browning the meat, cooking down the onions.  Then the jolt of wine, tomatoes, and cinnamon...but a jolt I can live with.  Even go through again.

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Reddened (Kokkinisto)
from Food from Many Greek Kitchens by Tessa Kiros

6 TBSP olive oil
6 9-ounce slices beef for stewing (chuck or blade), about 1 1/4" thick (I bought a chuck roast and broke it down)
1 large red onion, chopped
1/2 c red wine
14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 TBSP tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 TBSP chopped Italian parsley
freshly ground black pepper
3 thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet* and fry until beef is deep golden on both sides.  Salt each side as it's done.  Remove to a large cast iron pot that has a lid.  Add the rest of the olive oil and the onion to the pan and saute until softened.  Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated.  Add the crushed tomatoes and paste, the cinnamon and parsley, and season with a little salt and black pepper.  Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes, smoothing out any big bits of tomato with a wooden spoon.  Scrape over the beef.  Fill the tomato can with water and add this to the pot.  Add the thyme, cover, and bake for 2 hours, turning the meat a couple of times.  Add an extra 1/2 cup water, then bake for 30 minutes more.  At the end of this time, the beef should be very tender and the sauce thick and jammy but abundant.  if necessary, add a little hot water towards the end. Remove from the oven and serve.
Serves 6

* I browned the beef in the same cast iron pan I used for baking, using only one pot for the entire process.

See Ya In the Gumbo potluck going on until

Friday, Dec. 9.


  1. I actually love beef and cinnamon together...either in chili or pastitsio, so this sounds amazing! Awesome choice for this mouth is watering!

  2. Cinnamon goes with everything. Experiment and you will see. I love it with meat.

    I enjoyed this post. You do have a good sense of humor. The dish looks terrific.

  3. This dish looks scrumptious and I can only imagine how good it is! Such interesting flavors and I bet the gravy would be fab, served over rice. :)

  4. Great dish for the red theme. This looks really heart-warming, and I love the idea of the beef cooked with cinnamon. I ate several dishes in Greece in which cinnamon was used to flavour meat and other things, and it really does work.
    Sue xo

  5. Anonymous12/06/2011

    I just added your web page to my bookmarks. I enjoy reading your posts. Thank you!

  6. I LOVE adding cinnamon to savory dishes. Love.

    I can definitely see how it would make this dish just a little bit more rich-tasting!

  7. I loved the looks of this so much that I directly went to the store, bought the ingredients, and fully intend to copy you this week:) Looks delicious! Thanks for pointing it out.

  8. Beef and cinnamon is a good combo. Love it. You went all out with the red here.

  9. I love cinnamon in savory dishes--it adds such great exotic flavor. This looks delicious and perfect for this week's theme. ;-)

  10. I love cinnamon in savoury too.
    What a great Sunday dinner type of meal. Slow and savoury and delicious!

  11. Photoshop tools for beef are always a good thing. ;)


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