Who would imagine that only a couple of tablespoons of a sweet liqueur would transform an everyday, traditional Greek recipe into an exquisite and fine tasting dish. Beef cooked into tomato sauce is a very popular meal in Greece, called “Kokkinisto” (meaning that it is cooked in red sauce) and is served in all traditional taverns and prepared in Greek homes much more often than any other recipe I can think of. But, the addition of crème de cassis is a secret my mother gave me years ago. Crème de cassis is a French liqueur made from blackcurrants and is mostly known for being an essential ingredient to the famous cocktail “Kir Royal”.
Crème de cassis will give to this simple and traditional beef recipe a rich color as well as a deep and sophisticated flavor that takes it to a whole new level.
Serve it with any kind of pasta, buttery white long rice, perfectly whipped mashed potatoes or even better, home made french fries. I am making mine tonight with bucatini, the thick spaghetti with a hole running through its center or otherwise known as the untamed pasta that does not roll around your fork, and will certainly stain your shirt. Delicious.
- 3 pounds (about 1.3 kg) beef chuck pot roast boneless, cut into about 2½ inches (7 cm) cubes
- 1 can diced tomato (14 oz or 400 g) with no additional spices
- 1 cup tomato sauce with no additional spices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons liqueur crème de cassis
- Salt and pepper
How to cook the beef:
- In a large cooking pot, heat the olive oil.
- Add the onion and cook until translucent.
- Add the beef (in batches, if needed) and sear.
- Add the crème de cassis.
- Add the diced tomato and the tomato sauce, salt and pepper.
- Cook on medium temperature with lid on for about 1½ hours (or for about 40 minutes in a pressure cooker) until beef is done and tender.
How to thicken the sauce:
When the beef is done but the sauce is not thick enough, take this easy step: dissolve one tablespoon cornstarch with two tablespoons water. Bring the sauce to a boil and add the corn starch/water mix, whisking gently. Remove from heat. Repeat the process, if needed.