This is a juicy, tender, melt-in-the-mouth local beef stifado with a delicious, slightly sweet, intense tomato-based sauce. It’s the perfect recipe for an autumn supper.
One of the main ingredients is round shallots or small pearl onions – with a wonderful sweetness and mild flavour that won’t overpower the other flavours of the stew.
A little trick to save you a lot of time and effort is to blanch the onions in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Then pinch each onion at its stem end and the skin will come right off.
- 1kg local braising beef (chuck, brisket or any other slow cooked cut)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin oil
- 15-20 whole peeled onions
- 3 carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 celery sticks finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves peeled and thinly slice
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp ground allspice or 5 whole all spice berries
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground cloves or 5 whole cloves
- 120ml red wine
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 400gr passata
- A pinch of ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- Pinch of salt or to taste
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- I beef stock cube, I chicken stock cube and 1 veg stock cube, I like Knorr
- 200ml water or add extra if it is getting dry
Preheat oven to160 C
Heat the oil in a large lidded casserole dish.
Deglaze the pot with the red wine and red wine vinegar, scraping any browned bits that have stuck at the pot.
Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic and cook over a low heat until soft and lightly coloured. Don’t overcook the onions as they will taste bitter. It will take about 10 minutes.
Add the beef back to the pot, and then add the tomato puree and all the spices and sauté for a few minutes.
Add the passata, honey and stock cubes along with the water and bring to the boil. Cover with the lid and place
the dish in the oven on the middle shelf.
Cook for 2 1/2 hours until the sauce has thickened and the beef is tender.
While the beef is braising, check regularly if it needs more water; you don’t want it to dry out.
If it does, pour in half a glass of boiling water and stir.
Towards the end of cooking time season well with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with mashed potatoes and some crusty bread to mop up the delicious sauce.
In Greece, very often the beef Stifado is served with pilaf rice, orzo pasta or French fries.
You can add parmesan or kefalotyri or any other semi hard cheese of your choice.
Why not add some green vegetables at the side such as green fine beans, steamed tenderstem broccoli or asparagus when in season for a more healthy option.
Add short crust pastry or filo pastry and turn the stifado into a pie if you prefer.
You can use mushrooms and lentils instead of beef, and maple syrup or vegan sugar instead of honey for vegan or vegetarian version.