Every beef-lover should have a well-rounded beef education, and that includes knowing how beef is eaten in different countries throughout the world – not just in Australia. Although we love our sausages, steaks, burgers and roasts, there are so many different ways to enjoy beef. Here are a few examples from around the globe (in no particular order). We have also included links to recipes, so you can try these dishes at home!
Greece – Beef Stifado
Beef Stifado (actually pronounced ‘stifatho’) is a nourishing and meaty stew made primarily with slow cooked beef, tomato and shallots. This dish is served in practically every Greek Island Taverna. The secret of a great Beef Stifado is the slow cooking, which results in delicious, melt-in-your-mouth beef and a rich, sweet and thick sauce. This dish is traditionally served with orzo pasta, rice, hilopites (egg pasta) or homemade potato chips.
Jamaica – Cow Heel Soup
Cow Heel Soup is one of the most well-loved soups in the Caribbean. This soup, which often consists of yellow split peas, potatoes, carrots and dumplings, is hearty, filling and delicious. Cow heel is sold in most markets and supermarkets in the Caribbean… in Australia, however, it may be a little more difficult to find. We recommend asking your local butcher to prepare some for you.
Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia – Beef Pierogi
Pierogi (pronounced pi-rog-ghee) are filled dumplings of Easter European origin. Traditionally, Pierogi is made by wrapping pockets of dough around a savoury or sweet filling and then cooking the dumplings in boiling water. Beef pierogi is often made with vegetables or soft cheese, and is served with caramelised onions or fresh herbs on top for extra flavour.
Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria – Palaver Sauce
Palaver Sauce is a type of stew that is widely eaten in West Africa. Palaver sauce consists of minced meat (often beef), spinach leaves or bean leaves, cabbage, kale, okra and spices. The word ‘palaver’ comes from Portuguese language and means a lengthy talk, debate or quarrel… it is unclear how this led to the name of the stew. One theory is that when the stew was first made, with long, ropey greens, people would start quarrels by slapping each other with the greens from their stew. Another theory is that the spices used in the stew mingle together like raised voices in an argument… Who knows, but it sounds delicious!
Italy – Beef Carpaccio
Carpaccio is an Italian appetiser that consists of raw meat or fish that is thinly sliced, pounded and (often) served with lemon, olive oil, and white truffle or Parmesan cheese. Carpaccio was invented in 1950 by Giuseppe Cipriani, from Harry’s Bar, and was popularised during the second half of the twentieth century. This dish is named after the Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio.
And, last but definitely not least…
Japan – Wagyu Beef Steak
Wagyu is a breed of cattle that is native and unique in their genetics to Japan. The Japanese word Wagyu can be translated to mean Japanese beef – as ‘wa’ means Japanese and ‘gyu’ means beef. Wagyu cattle are closely guarded by Japanese farmers, who inherited the genetics from their ancestors and see it as their duty to protect this natural treasure for future generations.
What is so special about Wagyu? As you can see in the image above, it is highly marbled – meaning that the muscle is finely interspersed with monounsaturated fat. This marbling gives the beef intense buttery flavour, melt-in-your-mouth texture and succulence. Wagyu steaks can usually be found in higher-end butcher shops, and are usually quite expensive…. but if you’re game to get your wallet out, here’s a recipe.
There are so many other delicious beef recipes from around the globe that we’d love to list, but we’ll stop there (for now). If you are travelling in the near future, do yourself a favour and try out beef dishes in every country you visit. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Want some home-grown beef education? Check out our guide to Cooking Australian Beef Cuts.