Stifado (Beef Stew)

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Stifado (Beef Stew)

Stifado is the ultimate comfort food. Serve with pilafi, pasta, or mashed potatoes for a warm and filling meal. (Sophia loves it with French fries.)

Total Time: 1.5
Yield: 8 servings


  • 4 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh or crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3-inch piece dried orange peel
  • Dash red-pepper flakes
  • Dash pepper
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 bag frozen pearl onions
  • Kosher or sea salt


Rinse beef. Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water and add beef. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. As beef is cooking, foam will rise to the top of the pot; when it does, remove from heat; drain and rinse beef well.

In same pot, add olive oil over high heat. Add beef and salt; saute 5 minutes. Add onion, reduce heat to medium, and saute until onion is tender. Add red wine. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, stir, and cook 2 minutes.

Add enough water to cover meat. Add tomato sauce, garlic, spices, and herbs. Simmer on low to medium heat about 2 hours, or until beef is tender.

Using a slotted spoon, remove beef to a plate and set aside. Strain remaining sauce and cold water into another pot; stir to break up lumps.

Bring strained sauce to a boil. Add pearl onions and cook over medium heat 5 minutes. Return beef to the pot and simmer until onions are cooked through.

Add salt to taste. If beef isn't tender enough, add more water and continue simmering (the longer it cooks the better).


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