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Greek Beef Stifado


Stew Ingredients

1 large of onion
olive oil
kosher salt
4 cloves of garlic, peeled, minced
1 tbsp. of ground cumin
1 tsp. of cinnamon
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
1 14 oz. can of tomato puree
3/4 cup of dry red wine
2 tbsp. of red wine vinegar
2 1/2 lbs. of beef chuck, excess fat/gristle removed, cut into large cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 16 oz. bag of pearl onions, peeled


1 cup of Feta cheese, crumbled
1 large of Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced small
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tbsp. of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. of fresh chives, chopped
1 tbsp. of fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp. of fresh thyme, chopped


  1. Method: Begin Sauce: Cut the top of the onion off, then cut the onion in half through the root end. Peel the onion skin off each half and discard. Lay the onion halves on their flat sides and cut off the root end. Now very thinly slice the onion halves from one side to the other so you have very thin julienne strips (cutting the other direction will yield longer rings, less attractive in the finished recipe). Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot/Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and stir them around to break them apart and coat them with the oil. Slowly cook and brown the onions, stirring occasionally. This is a slow process- rushing increases the chance of burning the onions. Keep stirring and browning the onions until they are very soft and a nice caramel brown in color. Once the onions are caramelized, add the garlic, cumin and cinnamon to the onions. Stir and cook another 2-3 minutes or until the garlic has turned opaque and the whole mixture is aromatic. Add the bay leaves, canned tomatoes, red wine and the vinegar to the onion mixture. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Stir to mix the onion mixture evenly. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer while meat is begun. Brown meat: Divide prepped beef cubes into 3 portions. Heat a very large non-stick pot or sauté pan over high heat. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to the pot and then add the first portion of meat cubes, spacing them so they are easy to turn. Once the cubes are browned on their first sides, turn them to another side. Some pieces can be turned more than once- do so as more browned sides increases flavor. Remove the first batch of nicely browned meat cubes to a large bowl. Scrape out excess oil/browned bits and add a little fresh oil to the pot. Brown the second portion of meat. Repeat the browning process with the last portion of meat. Cook stew: Add all the browned meat and its juices to the pot with the onion-tomato sauce. Stir to coat all the meat with sauce. Cover the pot with its lid and place it into the pre-heated oven. Bake 1 ½ hours. Check the stew to see if meat is becoming tender- likely the stew will need to cook another 1 ½ hours. Check the stew about every 30-40 minutes after the first 1 ½ hours. Taste the stew for seasoning. Cook pearl onions: Bring a small pot of salted water filled halfway with water to a boil. Add the prepped pearl onions and simmer them for 2-3 minutes or until barely tender. Drain onions well. Heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a small non-stick sauté pan. Add the pearl onions and a large pinch of salt. Slowly brown the onions in the same manner as the caramelized onions used in the stew sauce. Stir the onions occasionally so they brown on all sides. Once caramelized, set the onions aside in a small bowl. Make stew topping: Mix together the cheese, tomato, olive oil and herbs in a small bowl and set aside. Finish stew and serve: Once beef is fully tender, remove stew from oven. Stir in the caramelized pearl onions and correct seasonings, if needed. Sprinkle chopped parsley over the stew and serve hot with a spoonful of the feta-tomato topping over each serving of stew. Rustic bread is a traditional accompaniment, as is cooked rice or mashed potatoes. Serves 6-8.
*If you prefer a chunkier stew base, you can use a different type of canned tomatoes (diced, crushed, etc.) **Pearl onions that were frozen and thawed can be peeled fairly easily by cutting off a bit of the stem end. Squeeze the root end to slide the outer layer of skin off. Then trim off that layer along with most of the root end. This slow job can be done while the beef stew cooks in the oven. ;o)


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