For this month’s challenge of the Royal Foodie Joust, I made Veal in Dark Beer with a Sweet and Sour Pumpkin Sauce.
Every month there is an event going on, where the winner chooses three ingredients with which we have to cook. Although I love participating at this event as we challenge ourselves to create recipes we would never dream of making, most of the times the ingredients given are not so easy to find in Greece. When I saw the ingredients this month, which were Black beer, sugar and pumpkin, I was really happy and knew I could make a recipe with the three ingredients chosen by the last winner of the Royal Joust.
If you think sweet-and-sour food belongs only to Chinese cuisine, you’re only partially correct as Ancient Greek Cuisine also had sweet and sour tastes as well. Although it is rather impossible to recreate ancient dishes, as we do not know the exact spices and ingredients they used nor do we cook using the same utensils and methods, garos was a sauce made from fermented fish, similar to soy sauce and fruit, petimezi (grape molasses), honey, vinegar were included in their dishes.
Although I have never cooked with pumpkin before (except of course for making pies, I knew that the natural sweetness of the pumpkin, plus that of brown sugar and fruit, would perfectly match with the toasted/roasted malt aroma with a hint of caramel and some minimal fruitiness and a little bitterness of the bock beer, so my choice was to make sweet and sour, inspired by ancient Greek cuisine.
You can cook this dish in a Dutch oven without having to use a skillet. My casserole dish cannot be used on the stove top, so I prepared the first step in a skillet.
Although originally I was thinking to leave the dish as it was, when it was cooked, I was really skeptical if my teenage daughter would eat it at the sight of cooked pumpkin and onions, so I had to think of something that would appeal to her. She loves pasta and she doesn’t mind eating carrots, so that is the reason why I decided to puree it, in case she would ask “what’s in the sauce mum?” I would tell her carrots.
The meat was tender and flavourful and the sauce was delicious. My daughter ate it without any complaints and the rest of us kept adding more and more sauce, mixing it with the pasta. This is definitely a dish I will make again.
Beef or Veal in Dark Beer and Sweet and Sour Sauce
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves: 5 – 6
- 1 kilo beef or veal top round roast (in Greece it is called noua or stroggylo, which means round)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small piece of cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves garlic, divided
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4 big red onions, quartered
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups orange juice
- 0.33 L Amstel Bock beer
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar ( or subsitutue with2 Tbsp petimezi (grape molasses))
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 8 medium carrots, cut into small pieces
- 2 cups pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into small pieces
- 1 packet (500 grams) tagliatelle
- Wash and strain the meat. Season well with salt and pepper and make two slits in the meat adding 1 clove garlic and the cinnamon stick.
- In a large skillet heat the olive oil and brown the meat on all sides. Add the carrots and pumpkin around the meat and sauté for a few minutes and transfer browned beef and vegetables to an ovenproof baking casserole with lid.
- Add the onions to the skillet with ½ teaspoon of salt and cook until onions are lightly browned. Add the remaining 1 clove garlic, finely chopped and cook for a few more minutes. Add the flour and stir until onions are evenly coated and flour is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in beer, soy sauce, thyme, bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits. Add the fruit juice and increase heat to medium-high and bring to a full simmer.
- Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables and discard the bay leaves.
- Cover with the lid and place in a preheated oven to 200°C / 400oF and cook for 1 hour. Turn over the meat and continue baking until tender for about 1 more hour.
- Half way through cooking, mix petimezi and mustard seeds with balsamic vinegar and pour over meat, mixing well.
- When cooked, remove the cinnamon from the meat and set aside to cool before cutting the meat into thin slices.
- Discard the bay leaves and strain the vegetables, reserving the broth.
- Put the vegetables with 1 cup of broth in a food processor and purée. Put them in a small pot and simmer until the sauce is reduced to a thick consistency.
- Serve with pasta, rice, potatoes etc.
Note: Leftover broth can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 – 4 days and can be used in other recipes.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!
Other relevant recipes: