Stifado, also now as a Greek red wine beef stew is a hearty delicious dish perfect for any occasion. With tender melt in your mouth beef, plenty of fresh herbs, and delicate pearl onions are slowly cooked in an aromatic red wine broth.  Traditionally stifado was cooked exclusively with rabbit meat. However beef was more accessible and acceptable to Greek cooks through the years, so it is the most common meat used in the famous stew.

The traditional Greek beef stifado recipe calls for “kokaria” onions. These are small white sweet onions. The best option is to use white pearl onions, which are sweet and mild and won’t overpower the other flavours of the dish. The only thing that can be time consuming is peeling all the onions. A handy tip to save you a lot of time and effort is to blanch the onions in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Then pinch each onion at its stem end and the peel will come right of!

Greek beef stifado can be served with orzo pasta, rice, hilopittes (egg pasta) or fries. 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. Of course not to forget some crusted bread aside to dig into all this delicious tomato sauce.

This is arguably the most heartwarming dinner you can have. So feel free to follow our recipe below and try out this heartwarming dish for yourself!


How to Make Greek Stifado


  • 1 kg good-quality stewing beef, cut into portions
  • 1.5 kg pearl onions, peeled
  • 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
  • 2 ripe tomatoes (without skins) roughly chopped or tinned (400g) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 34 allspice berries
  • a pinch nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • A bit of water

Instructions for Stifado

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the meat in small batches and sauté until browned on all sides. When done, remove with a slotted spoon to place on a platter, cover and set aside.
  2. Peel and 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.
  3. Pour in the cognac, wine and red wine vinegar, cover and let it simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Next, pour the meat along with its juices to the saucepan, add the tomato paste and sauté. Add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaf, allspice berries, nutmeg and a bit of water until the meat is covered. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer the beef stifado with a lid on 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.
  5. Serve beef stifado with pasta and grated cheese, or boiled new potatoes.
Greek Stifado – Greek Beef Stew in Wine

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