Classic Greek Beef Stifado: A Hearty Stew With Tender Beef And Pearl Onions

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Stifado (pronounced stee-FAH-do) is a classic Greek stew that bursts with flavor. Tender beef chunks are slow-cooked with pearl onions, baby potatoes, and a rich tomato-based sauce infused with warm spices like cinnamon and cloves. This dish is perfect for a comforting and satisfying meal, and leftovers taste even better the next day!


Beef stifado
Beef stifado

1 kg (2.2 lbs) boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 500g (1.1 lbs) pearl onions, peeled
  • 500g (1.1 lbs) baby potatoes, halved
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

  • Directions:

    1. Prep the Beef: In a large bowl, toss the beef cubes with flour to coat them evenly. This will help thicken the stew later.
    2. Brown the Beef: Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, sear the beef cubes in batches until browned on all sides. Set browned beef aside on a plate.
    3. Sauté the Aromatics: In the same pot with remaining oil, add the chopped onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.
    4. Deglaze and Simmer: Pour in the crushed tomatoes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the beef broth, red wine (if using), bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then return the browned beef to the pot.
    5. Add Vegetables: Gently stir in the pearl onions and baby potatoes. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 1-1.5 hours, or until the beef is tender and the vegetables are cooked through.
    6. Adjust Seasonings: Once cooked, taste the stew and adjust seasonings with additional salt and pepper if needed.
    7. Serve and Enjoy: Garnish with fresh chopped parsley (optional) and serve hot with crusty bread for dipping.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving)

    Calories: Approximately 500 (depending on fat content of beef)

  • Fat: 30g
  • Protein: 40g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Sodium: 500mg (depending on added salt)

  • Conclusion

    Stifado is a versatile dish that can be easily adapted to your preferences. You can adjust the level of spice by adding more or less red pepper flakes, or swap the beef for another type of meat like lamb or chicken.

    This recipe is sure to become a favorite for its simple yet satisfying flavor profile. So, grab a pot, gather your ingredients, and get ready to create a taste of Greece in your own kitchen!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. Can I use a different type of cut for the beef?

    Yes, you can! While chuck roast is a good choice because of its marbling, other stewing cuts like round roast or rump roast will also work well. Just be sure to simmer the stew for a longer time if using a leaner cut of beef.

    2. What can I substitute for red wine?

    If you don’t have red wine on hand, you can use an equal amount of beef broth or water. However, the red wine adds a depth of flavor to the stew that is worth trying if possible.

    3. Can I make this recipe in a slow cooker?

    Absolutely! Brown the beef as instructed in step 2, then transfer everything (beef, vegetables, sauce) to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until the beef is tender.

    4. How long will leftovers keep?

    Stifado leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The flavors will actually develop further overnight, making it even tastier the next day.

    5. What can I serve with Stifado?