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Hearty Greek Beef Stew (Stifado)

In the Greek Islands there is an abundance of lamb, and also other meats made into delicious winter stews. Stew is perfect for that fun family gathering, cuddling up with loved ones to watch a favorite movie or just to chit chat over the events of the day. This dish is also sometimes traditionally prepared with rabbit, pork or veal. I prefer to use a quality cubed stewing beef such as a chuck roast or eye of round roast. Lamb may also be used, fat well trimmed. I have developed my own recipe, taking inspiration from the favorite aspects of many I have tried. The aromatic combination of herbs, tomato, onion, garlic and wine make this dish memorable.

Greek Beef Stifado (Stew)


Two pounds lean beef stewing meat

Two cups fresh diced tomatoes with their juices

Four cloves of garlic minced

One large white onion minced

Two large carrots cut into thick rounds (optional)

Two medium potatoes cut into sixteenths

Three to four cups high quality beef broth low sodium

One cup Cabernet red wine or Pinot Grigio white wine

One quarter cup unseasoned tomato puree

One tablespoon sweet paprika

One teaspoon cardamom

One teaspoon allspice ground

One teaspoon cinnamon

One teaspoon black pepper

One teaspoon Kosher salt

Two tablespoons minced fresh thyme (or two teaspoons dried)

Two tablespoons minced fresh rosemary (or two teaspoons dried and ground)

One quarter cup parsley minced

One teaspoon honey

Two fresh bay leaves minced

Four tablespoons canola oil or olive oil

Two tablespoons fresh lemon juice


1) Wash, cube, trim and pat almost dry the meat. Mix all of the dry spices together including: paprika, cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, pepper, salt. Sprinkle a bit on all sides of the meat generously. Reserve any remaining spice. Mince the thyme, rosemary, and parsley together as well, set to the side.

2) In a large dutch oven or wide soup pot heat the oil to sizzling. Add the meat and brown on all sides. Remove meat and squeeze with the lemon. Add a few more tablespoons of oil without deglazing the pan. Cook the chopped onion until translucent and then add the four cloves of garlic for a few more minutes.

3) In a small bowl place the one cup of wine and whisk in the tablespoon of honey well.

4) Add the wine scraping the bottom of the pan for any bits of onion or meat for roughly thirty seconds to one minute. Add back the meat at this point and sprinkle the top of all of it with the minced thyme, rosemary, parsley and minced fresh bay leaves. Simmer one minute, mixing. Then add the three to four cups of high quality beef broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer on low and add the carrots and potato.

5) Leave the lid ajar a tiny bit, and simmer on medium low for one hour and fifteen minutes.

Serve with fluffy rice, or orzo pasta. Pairs well with french cut green beans or freshly steamed peas.

Recipe created by: Sarah J. Hall World Cuisine Today January 28, 2018