A few years back, while between jobs, I went in search of recipes from around the world. I wanted to expand our dining horizons. It was then that I discovered San Marino. Call me sheltered, but up until that point I didn’t know of this tiny country within a country. I found its history interesting.
San Marino is the oldest and smallest Republic in the world, although not the smallest independent state – The Vatican holds that claim. (For the sake of argument – while the smallest “Republic” in the world, it is the third smallest independent state – Vatican City is the smallest; then Monaco and finally San Marino). The Republic of San Marino is situated on the Italian peninsula, with a total landmass of only 24-square miles, surrounded by Italy. Not surprising, the language of the land is Italian. Because of San Marino’s location, most tourists just passing through don’t realize that it is an independent country, not an Italian region.
According to tradition, Saint Marinus left the island of Rab in present-day Croatia with his lifelong friend Leo, and went to the city of Rimini as a mason. At the end of the Diocletianic Persecution (the last and most severe Christian persecution of the Roman Empire) Saint Marinus escaped to nearby Monte Titano following his Christian sermons. There he built a small church and thus founded what is now the city and Republic State of San Marino. The official date of foundation of the Republic is the 3rd of September, 301. When wars raged throughout Europe in both World Wars, San Marino remained neutral, thus enduring Italian suspicion as a refuge for spies.
Nearly all its people (97%) are Catholic, although San Marino has no official religion. Despite this, National holidays include the Epiphany of Our Lord (January 6th), All Saints (November 1st) and the Immaculate Conception (December 8th) as well as other dates of Holy Obligation as defined by the Holy See.
Not surprising, the cuisine of San Marino is very similar to Italian, especially that of the adjoining Emilia-Romagna and Marche regions. Yet San Marino has a number of its own unique dishes.
San Marino Slow-Cooked Steaks
¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh black pepper
4 beef round steaks, about 1-inch thick
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
2 carrots, chopped
½ onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
Splash or two of red wine
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Dredge each steak in flour mixture. Place in slow cooker.
Combine tomato sauce, carrots, onion, celery, Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf in a small bowl. Pour into slow cooker.
Cover and cook on LOW 8-10 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours. Remove and discard bay leaf. Serve steak and sauce over rice a bed of rice.