Roasted Sweet Peppers (in Olive Oil & Garlic)

An absolute favourite all over the Mediterranean. The sweet peppers can be eaten on their own, or with bread. Dipping the bread into the extra virgin olive oil infused with garlic and roasted sweet peppers is a magical experience of its own. This vegan recipe is a bit laborious but is definitely worth it!

Time

1 minute of preparation,
20 minutes of roasting,
1 hour of waiting to cool,
15 minutes of peeling,
overnight of resting

Ingredients

This recipe was prepared for 2 persons.

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1kg red sweet pepper
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • salt to taste

I. Roast

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 240°C or 460F.
  1. Line a tray with baking sheet and arrange the whole peppers. Roast for 10 minutes until the skin blisters.
  1. With a protective glove, open the oven door and turn the peppers to the uncooked side. Roast for another 10 minutes until the skin shrivels and blisters.

II. Cool to room temperature

  1. Remove the tray from the oven and pour the peppers into a bowl along with any exuded liquid. Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and allow to cool to room temperature for about 1 hour. Leave the baking sheet on the tray, to be used as a surface for cleaning the peppers later on.

III. Clean and infuse

  1. Peel the peppers and remove all the seeds. This is the tedious part! My grandmother will leave the seeds on, but I do not like their taste.
Pinch the peppers to peel the skin
Remove the tops, and tear open the peppers.
Remove the seeds with your fingers or with a spoon.
  1. Tear the peppers into smaller strips and put in a sealable container.
  1. To the container, add and mix thoroughly:
    • Crushed garlic cloves
    • Salt
    • Juice left in the bowl used to cool the peppers. This liquid is packed with flavours from the peppers.
    • Generous amount of olive oil until all the peppers are covered.
  1. Seal the container and allow to rest in the fridge for 1-2 days.
  1. Before serving, remove from the fridge a few hours before to “warm” to room temperature.

We served ours as fillings for homemade pita bread.

Pantry Notes

Where we bought our ingredients in Singapore:

  • Peppers – Blu Kouzina

Red sweet pepper

The sweet pepper we commonly use in the South of Italy is not the bell pepper. It has a long shape, but is not at all spicy and is much bigger in size than peperoncini (hot chilli peppers). We found that at supermarkets in Singapore, the sweet peppers are referred to as “Palermo peppers”. Despite this name the sweet peppers are truly common all over the Mediterranean, not just in Sicily. We also used these peppers to make Calabrian “Sticky” Potatoes.

Removing the seeds

An easy way to remove the seeds is by halving the peppers and removing the seeds before roasting in the oven. However, I think that this way the peppers lose too much liquid and flavour.

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Stracotto di Manzo (Italian Roast Pot / Braised Beef)

“Stracotto di Manzo” means “extra cooked”, or “overcooked” beef. This delicious recipe from Tuscany requires a long time of cooking, but the preparation is simple and easy. It takes only 15-20 minutes to prepare in the morning, after which you can leave it to simmer for 6-8 hours the rest of the day.

It’s made with a piece of fatty beef which is usually used in English cuisine for roast beef. It must be a fatty piece of meat because the fat will melt slowly to give flavour to the final dish. We accompanied ours with homemade mashed potatoes.

Watch the video to see how we prepared the meat, and for all the important tips on this cooking technique.

Time

15-20 minutes of preparation, 5-8 hours of simmering.

Ingredients

This recipe was prepared for a dinner of 4 persons.

  • 1 kg of fatty beef
  • 4 carrots, chopped into big chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped into big chunks
  • 5-6 garlic cloves

Seasoning

  • 1 table spoon of coarse salt
  • 1 table spoon of whole black peppers

Liquids

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1L of water or beef broth
  • extra virgin olive oil

I. Season the meat

  1. Grind coarse salt and whole black peppers in a small food processor. You may also use ready-made ground black pepper but freshly ground whole black peppers are more fragrant.
  1. Generously coat all surfaces of your meat with the seasoning.

II. Seal the meat

  1. On a medium-high flame, add a generous amount of olive oil to cover the base of your pot. Wait for the olive oil to become hot.
  1. Starting from the fattiest part of the beef, cook each side of the meat for 2 minutes. After sealing, pick up the meat and set aside.

III. Deglaze the pot

  1. Add the carrots and onions into the pot for 2-3 minutes, and add a splash of water. The water and juices exuded from the vegetables will deglaze the beef fat at the bottom of the pot.

IV. Boil and simmer

  1. Add the garlic and rosemary, and put back the beef.
  1. Raise the flame to the highest, and add red wine. Use good red wine!
  1. Add water (or beef broth) up to half of the beef height. Wait for the water to boil.
  1. When the water starts boiling, lower the flame to its lowest, cover the pot completely and allow to simmer for 5-8 hours.

V. Prepare the sauce

  1. After 5-8 hours, use a strainer to remove the beef from the pot. Do this gently and carefully as the beef will be very soft and tender, and may fall apart.
  1. With a spoon, skim excessive fats on the surface of the sauce and discard them. You may also skim after blending the sauce in the next step.
  1. With an immersion mixer / hand blender, blend the remaining vegetables in the sauce. Thicken the sauce by raising the flame and allow some water to evaporate before serving.

We served our stracotto with homemade mashed potatoes.

Pantry Notes

Where we bought our ingredients in Singapore:

  • Beef – Foodies Market
  • Whole black pepper grains – Scoop

Be gentle to the meat

During the sealing, do not poke the meat with a fork or knife as you will lose the juices of the meat. It will not seal properly and become dry.

Alternative meats

This cooking technique can be used on any other fatty meat: mutton, lamb, or pork.

Alternative carbs

In the North of Italy, they serve the stracotto with polenta, which is also delicious.

You can also use the stracotto sauce to season pasta.

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