Traditional Maltese Recipe: Beef olive stew

Beef olive stew-Stuffat tal-braġjoli

Aqra bil-Malti: Riċetta: Stuffat tal-braġjoli

Beef olives too are very traditional. You will come across many different recipes; some people make them with whole hard boiled eggs, others with ham, some turn them into a stew, and others bake them. In this recipe, you can also add a tablespoon of sultanas to the sauce before you add it to the beef olives; I prefer not to, but in my opinion you should not be scared to add citrus peel as it makes a big difference to the flavour.  

Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Serves: 4


For the beef olives:

  • 4 large flat slices of beef, approximately a total of 500g
  • 500 g pork mince
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons of kefalotiri cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, thinly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon curry
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the stew:

  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 200 g frozen peas; (you can use fresh instead)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 200 ml red wine
  • 300 ml beef stock
  • Lemon, orange and tangarine peel, (around 5cm of each), finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon curry
  • ¼ teaspoon mixed spice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. For the beef olives: In a bowl mix together the mince, eggs, cheese, parsley, garlic and curry, salt and pepper to taste. Spread the flat slices of beef and divide the pork mixture between them. Spread the mixture without covering the edges, turn the edges inwards and roll everything up into a cylinder shape. Seal each olive with a toothpick. Heat the oil in a large pan on a moderate heat and brown the beef olives all round. Put the beef olives in a pot with low sides.
  2. For the sauce: In the same pan in which you browned the beef olives, add the onions until they become transparent, then add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the paste and stir for two minutes, then pour in the wine. Let the wine reduce a little then add the stock and the peas. As soon as the mixture comes to the boil add all the spices, salt and pepper to taste and the citrus peel. Put the bay leaves on top of the beef olives and pour the sauce into the bowl. The beef olives should be submerged in sauce.
  3. Cover the pot and place it on a moderate heat until it comes to the boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for around an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half. Every now and then turn the beef olives to make sure that they don’t stick. If you see that the sauce is getting too dry add some boiling water, and if it is too liquid while you are halfway through cooking do not cover the pot completely.
  4. Let the stew rest for 15 minutes, then serve with chips or fresh Maltese bread.

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