Stifado - Greek red wine beef stew is a hearty delicious dish perfect for a Sunday lunch. Tender melt in your mouth beef, lots of fresh herbs, and delicate pearl onions are slowly cooked in an aromatic red wine broth.
What is Stifado
Stifado (or stifatho) is a Greek red wine stew. When Greeks cook stifado, they usually make a rabbit or beef stew cooked slowly in a rich and delicious wine sauce. Traditionally stifado was cooked exclusively with rabbit meat. But the beef was more accessible and acceptable to Greek cooks through the years, so it is the most common meat used in the famous stew.
How to make it
You will need beef cut in pieces for stew, pearl onions, diced onions and carrots, garlic, red wine, fresh and dry herbs, and aromatics like cinnamon and nutmeg.
Detailed measurements and instructions can be found on the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
What meat is best?
This kind of stew does not require expensive cuts of meat. I like to get 2 pounds beef chuck roast cut into 1-inch cubes. I find it becomes really tender and it is has a reasonable price tag. You can certainly use your favorite stewing beef.
Stifado cooking methods
The most traditional way to cook this wine beef stew. It ispretty easy to prepare. After browning the meat, the other ingredients are added, the heat turns to low and the tew simmers for hours.
Slow-cooked Stifatho comes out very tender. The pearl onions are added towards the end of the cooking to avoid them become mushy. The pearl onions need to be tender but still firm. Cook the stew on high for five-six hours, or on low for up to 10 hours.
I begin cooking the stew on the stovetop. I use an ovenproof pot, specifically a dutch oven.
Good seasoning is key for a great stew.
Some sea salt, pepper, pinch or two of dry oregano adding the bay leaves and the cinnamon sticks and some chili pepper flakes help develop a great base for the broth. Then I add all other ingredients, stir gently, and move it in the oven to cook for the rest of the time.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Gather all the fresh herbs and tie them together using some cooking twine to create your bouquet garni.
Arrange the beef stew pieces on a platter lined with paper towels. Pat dry all the pieces to remove the extra moisture.
Sprinkle some flour all over beef pieces.
Add the olive oil to the pot. Turn heat to medium-high.
Add the beef, 3-4 pieces at a time. Brown them all over for 1 min, remove, place on a clean plate, and set aside for later. Repeat the process until all pieces are nicely brown all over.
Add the diced onions to the pot. Season with a pinch of salt. Add the garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Season with freshly ground pepper, ground nutmeg, chili pepper flakes, and dried oregano. Add the bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon sticks.
Add the tomato paste.
Stir and sauté in medium heat for 2-3 min to let flavors develop.
Add the diced carrots. Add the beef pieces and mix gently. Turn the heat to high and add the wine. Simmer in high heat for 2-3 min to let the alcohol evaporate.
Cover and place pot in the oven. Cook for 1 hour and 30 min.
It takes almost two hours to complete this fabulous stew, and the result will not disappoint. Served with homemade fries or over buttery mashed potatoes, it is the perfect comfort food.
You may also try:
- This chicken stew with lemony cannellini beans will satisfy and comfort.
- A delicious eggplant & beef stew is ideal for dipping bread in the sauce!
- This slow-cooked pork stew with chickpeas has simple ingredients and delicate, rustic flavors.
Check out my Greek pantry staples
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Greek Red Wine Beef Stew
- 5 qt Dutch oven or ovenproof pot
- 2 lbs beef chuck cut in pieces for stew
- 2 tablespoons flour all purpose
- 4 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 2 carrots diced
- 1 onion diced
- 4 garlic cloves diced
- 8 oz pearl onions
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 cup broth can be vegetable, beef or chicken.
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dry oregano
- 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
for the bouquet garni
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2-3 sprigs fresh sage
- 1-2 sprigs rosemary
- Preheat oven to 350 F.Gather all the fresh herbs and tie them together using some cooking twine to create your bouquet garni.
- Arrange the beef stew pieces on a platter lined with paper towels. Pat dry all the pieces to tremove the extra moisture. Sprinkle some flour all over beef pieces.
- Add the olive oil to the pot. Turn heat to medium-high. Add the beef, 4-5 pieces at a time. Brown them all over for 1 min, them remove, place in a clean plate and, set aside for later. Repeat the process until all pieces are nicely brown all over.
- Add the diced onions to the pot. Season with a pinch of salt. Add the garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Season with freshly ground pepper, a teaspoon of ground nutmeg, a teaspoon of chili pepper flakes, and a tablespoon of oregano. Add the bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon sticks.
- Add the tomato paste. Stir and sauté in medium heat for 2-3 min to let flavors develop.
- Add the diced carrots and beef pieces and mix gently. Turn the heat to high and add the wine. Simmer in high heat for 2-3 min to let the alcohol evaporate. Lower heat to medium. Add the pearl onions and the broth. Add the bouquet garni. Stir gently and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Cover and place pot in the oven. Cook for 1 hour and 30 min. Remove from oven, remove lid and let it sit for 10 min before serving.Serve with crispy french fries on the side to dip in the sauce. Enjoy!