Life’s a Feast: Simple beef olives


This is a family favourite in our household and a guaranteed palate pleaser, writes Bec Stanley. In the Mediterranean, olives are symbol of blessings and peace, and one belief is that beef olives, as in the recipe below, are shaped similarly to resemble this. Traditionally, this utter comfort food is slow-cooked while one is out pursuing the necessities of the day, then devoured while nestled in front of a warm fire. I have created a fast version of this for busy people with busy lives, but given an alternative slow-cooked version. Enjoy!



Beef olives

6 slices beef schnitzel, beaten with back of roller or meat tenderiser
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 rashers streaky bacon, thinly sliced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 cups panko crumbs or homemade bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional but delicious)
Zest of one lemon


1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic
150ml white wine
250ml beef stock
80ml cream
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons water


  1. First, make the stuffing. Fry the bacon over medium heat with two tablespoons of oil until the fat starts to colour. Add onions and garlic and cook for a further 3 mins or until softened.
  2. Combine all ingredients for the stuffing in a bowl, including the cooked onion mix and combine thoroughly.
  3. Take your beaten schnitzel and place two heaped tablespoons of stuffing about 5cm down from one end of the schnitzel. Press down to mould the stuffing evenly across the meat. Carefully and tightly roll your meat up, push any stuffing back in that falls out, then using a toothpick thread through the back flap.
  4. Take a large pan and heat to medium-high with two tablespoons of olive oil. In batches of two or three pieces, brown the beef olive all over – this should take 1-2 mins each side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. Fry the onion and garlic from the sauce recipe in the same pan you fried the beef olives.
  6. When they start to soften and get a little bit of colour, add the wine to deglaze the pan, and cook for 1-2 mins. Next, pour in the stock, then gently place all your beef olives in the liquid.
  7. Bring back to the simmer and cook for about 5 mins before turning them over and cooking for a further 5 mins.
  8. Remove the olives and place on a serving platter with foil over to keep warm.
  9. To finish the sauce, add the cream into the stock and bring back to a simmer. Combine the two teaspoons of cornflour and water in a cup and slowly pour into the creamy mix and stir continuously until it has thickened. Simmer for 3-4 mins. If it’s not as thick as you’d like, add a little more cornflour and water mixed.
  10. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed, then pour the delicious creamy mix over the olives and serve with your favourite potatoes and vegetables.

NB: There is a slow-cooked option that ensures the meat is extremely tender. Place all the sauce ingredients in an ovenproof dish, add the fried beef olives, and cover and cook at 150C for two hours. Remove the olives and pour sauce into a pot and add in same the cornflour mix to thicken.