GREEK BEEF STIFADO (STEW)
Have you ever wondered how some stews have this melt in the mouth texture while others taste like chewing rubber? It’s all about choosing the right cut and cooking it the right way. For a Greek beef stifado (stew), you need to choose large cuts of good quality stewing beef, which, when cooked for a long time, become fork tender. When cooking a Greek beef stifado, the meat is first browned and sealed to keep it nice and juicy, then added to a tomato-based sauce along with caramelised baby onions (use Leek or Onion infused oil if ) and aromatic spices and herbs and cooked at a low temperature. This is the secret to achieve the melt in the mouth texture, that will make your beef stifado just perfect! Let your beef stifado simmer for a few hours to allow its flavours to mingle into something much much more!
Traditionally Greek beef stifado is served with orzo pasta, rice, hilopittes (egg pasta) or chip potatoes. For the cold winter days, serve with creamy mashed potatoes for a warming and hearty meal that will take the chill out of any evening. And of course with some crusted bread aside to dig into all this delicious tomato sauce.
GREEK BEEF STIFADO STEW
- 1 kg good-quality stewing beef, cut into portions
- 1.5 kg baby onions, peeled (use Leeks if Low Fodmap)
- 1/4 of a cup olive oil
- 3/4 of a cup red wine
- 3 tbsps red wine vinegar
- 1/3 of a cup cognac
- 1 large, juicy ripe tomato, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp tomato pure
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tspn allspice
- a pinch nutmeg
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- To prepare this delicious Greek beef stifado recipe, heat the oil in a saucepan, add the meat (in batches) and sauté, until browned on all sides. Do not add all the meat in the sauce pan, rather sauté in batches, so that the temperature of the oil remains high and the meat is sealed. When done, remove with a slotted spoon, place on a platter, cover and set aside.
- Carve the baby shallot onions crosswise, add in the same oil used to browned the meat, turn down to medium heat and sauté until the onions have softened, but not browned (about 10 minutes).
- Pour in the cognac, the wine and red wine vinegar, cover and let it simmer for 3 minutes.
- Pour the meat along with its juices to the saucepan, add the chopped tomato, tomato puree, bay leaf, allspice berries and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer the beef stifado for 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened. While the beef stifado is simmering, check if it needs some water; you don’t want it to dry out. If it does, pour in half a cup of boiled water and stir. Towards the end of cooking time season well with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve beef stifado with pasta and grated cheese, or boiled new potatoes. Enjoy!