Veal, olive and pancetta stew with roasted red pepper

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2 tbsp olive oil
800g veal shoulder, cut into 4cm dice
200g pancetta lardons, 1cm thick
1 large onion, finely sliced (190g net)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp sweet paprika
100ml pastis, or any aniseed based alcohol
250ml dry white wine
2 beef tomatoes, cut into 4cm dice (570g net)
2 large fennel bulbs, cut into 3cm wedges (890g net)
2 bay leaves
100g pitted green olives
Salt and black pepper

Red pepper salsa:
2 red peppers
2 yellow pepper
5g mint leaves, torn
5g dill, chopped
10g parsley, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
Grated zest of one lemon
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp caster sugar

Stephane Manney, the incredibly gentle man who runs the most magical charcuterie shop I have ever visited, took a whole day to teach me the secrets of Corsica’s food. He introduced me to his charming wife, his uncle and his kids and made me completely fall in love with the island and its people. Cooking this stew for the Manney family was my way of paying them back form their charm and generosity. Serve the stew with a creamy mash or just some country bread. Serves six

Method

Preheat the oven to 220C.
Put a heavy based, 25 centimetre diameter, lidded saucepan on high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sear half the meat for about 5 minutes until browned on all sides. Remove and repeat with the remaining veal.
Reduce the heat under the pan to medium-high. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and add the pancetta, onion and garlic. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until the onion has softened and both the pancetta and onion are starting to brown. Add the fennel seeds and paprika and cook for a minute to release their flavours. Deglaze the pan with the pastis and white wine, give it a good stir and leave to gently boil for 2 minutes. Put the browned veal back in the pot along with the tomatoes, fennel, bay, 1 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper. Top the stew with 400 millilitres of water so the meat is just covered. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 1 hour and 40 minutes, skimming occasionally. Remove the lid, add the olives and increase the heat to a gentle boil. Cook like this for 20 minutes allowing the liquid to reduce until the sauce thickens and the meat is tender.
Meanwhile make the salsa. Put the red and yellow peppers on a roasting tray and place in the hot oven until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove, place in a bowl and cover with cling film until slightly cooled. Peel and discard the skin and seeds and chop the peppers into1 cm long strips. Place those in a medium bowl and add the remaining salsa ingredients, along with a generous pinch of salt.
Spoon the salsa over the hot stew and serve ate once.

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  • Meat Delicately flavoured, colourful and comforting stew
    (21/01/2014) Lovely fennel/aniseed flavours coming through in this comforting but delicate stew. The roast pepper topping added colour and a lovely herby flavour, just what was needed on a January night! I served it just with bread but I think it would have been good with pasta too.