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Serbian beef

As its name suggests, this dish is traditional in Eastern Europe. It provides a hearty meal, particularly welcome in cold weather.

ingredients

serves 4 - 5
1 kg (2 lb) stewing beef, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
25 g (1 oz) dripping
2 large onions, sliced
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
150 ml (1/4 pint) red wine vinegar
4 potatoes, thinly sliced
vegetable oil, for brushing

method

1. Heat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and lightly brush a large ovenproof dish with oil.

2. Melt half the dripping in a heavy flameproof casserole over high heat and fry the meat in batches, if
necessary, until crisp and golden on all sides. Transfer the meat with a slotted spoon to a plate.

3. Add the remaining dripping to the pan and fry the onions gently for about 5 minutes until soft and translucent.

4. Return the meat and any juices to the pan. Add the paprika and stir over low heat for 2 minutes.

5. Add the celery, garlic, if using, bay leaf, parsley, salt and pepper to taste and the wine vinegar. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

6. Put half the potatoes in a layer on the bottom of the oiled ovenproof dish, cover with the meat mixture and then add the remaining potatoes in a neat layer on top. Cover tightly with a lid or foil and cook in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours until the meat is tender.

7. Brush the potatoes with oil and place the casserole under a high grill for 5 minutes until the potatoes are browned. Serve hot straight from the dish.

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