Braised beef with pearl onions in a rich sweet and spicy tomato sauce. Greeks definitely know how to cook a heart warming meal, and I am usually impressed with each new dish that I taste. There are more popular classics like gyros and moussaka, but there are also some more unknown classic Greek dishes that must be tried. This is certainly one of the must try dishes, and if cooked right you should have a melt in your mouth piece of beef with sweet and tender onions all complimented together with a sweet and spicy tomato based sauce!
Greek Beef Stifado Recipe: Makes 2 servings
2-3 T. EVOO
2 good braising steaks of beef, whole or cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 small cinnamon stick
3 fl. oz. red wine
1 T. red wine vinegar
sprig of fresh rosemary, I didn’t have at the time
1 bay leaf, torn
1 T. tomato paste or puree
1 1/2 – 2 cups hot water
8-10 pearl onions
1-2 tsp. raw sugar
s/p (salt and pepper)
Sear meat on all sides in hot oil until pale golden brown, add garlic with cinnamon stick and cumin, cooking a few minutes or until very aromatic. Add wine and vinegar, cook until bubbling 3-4 minutes, add rosemary and bay leaf with tomato paste and half to three quarters of the hot water. Stir well adding salt and pepper, making sure to coat the meat. Cover and cook gently for 45 – 55 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary to retain sauce for cooking and later. Add onions and shake to mix with sauce and sprinkle sugar over onions, try not to stir from this point because the onions will fall apart after tender. Cook another 30 minutes on a low temperature, watching carefully and shaking the pan gently to coat and toss onions in pan. Remove the large herbs from pan and serve with potatoes, rice, or just a fresh salad.
This can also be cooked in the oven, but you will need to increase the cooking time to almost 2 1/2 – 3 hours, adding onions the last 45 minutes.
This plate is traditionally made with rabbit, but since I couldn’t imagine cooking little Peter Rabbit or Thumper, I opted for the beef substitute. Either meat you choose is sure to be a delight. Stifado originates from ancient Greece, but was only popular among the more aristocrat crowd or families where the fathers were hunters, today it is more commonly enjoyed by all levels of society.