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Mediterranean Greek Beef Stifado

This Beef Stifado is a Mediterranean, Greek-inspired beef stew recipe that is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, redolent with winter spices, rich in flavor, hearty, and utterly satisfying.

Bowl of Greek Stifado in a blue bowl with oranges in the background

While traditionally made in a Dutch oven on the stovetop, it can also be made in the Instant Pot or the slow cooker. You can find instructions for both a pressure cooker and crockpot toward the bottom of this post.

What is Greek Beef Stifado?

Beef Stifado, traditionally known as stifatho (στιφάδο), is a Greek stew dish. The word comes from “stufado,” an ancient Venetian dish brought to Greece in the 13th century after the fall of Constantinople and before the Ottoman invasion.

The dish can also be called Kokkinisto Beef Stew. The word, “kokkinisto,” refers to dishes cooked in tomato sauce with olive oil, herbs, and spices.

Beef Stifado Ingredients on a Grey Board

Beef Stifado Ingredients

This is a summary of the ingredients you’ll need for Beef Stifado. Specific measurements are in the recipe card at the very bottom of this post.

  • Butter and olive oil
  • Boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
  • Yellow onion
  • Carrots
  • Garlic, minced
  • Beef broth
  • White vinegar
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Pearl onions

Fragrant Spices

What makes this stew utterly delicious is a group of warming, fragrant spices. You will need ground cinnamon and a cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and allspice. Although not traditional, I also like to add a pinch of red pepper flakes and a strip of orange zest.

Ingredient Notes

Choosing the right ingredients makes all the difference in a delicious Beef Stifado.

Beef

It’s important to choose large cuts of beef that will become fork tender when cooking. The best choice is beef chuck which only becomes juicy and more tender, the longer it cooks.

When possible, I like to ask the market butcher to cut it into 1 ½ inch chunks for me.

Onions

Traditional Greek stew recipes call for “kokaria” onions, which are small white sweet onions. White pearl onions are the most choice as they as considered a “baby” onion which yields a sweet and mild flavor to the Greek beef stew.

How to Make Beef Stifado

Detailed instructions for making this Beef Stifado are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here’s a quick summary of the steps needed to make this easy Greek beef stew.

Step 1: Brown the Beef

In a Dutch oven, brown the beef in batches and place them on a plate.

Step 2: Saute the Vegetables

Reduce the heat and add the onion, carrots, and garlic to the pot; saute until softened. Then add the garlic, spices, cinnamon stick, and orange zest. Cook for another 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

Step 3: Simmer the Stew

Return the beef to the Dutch oven, stir in the broth, vinegar, tomato paste, and tomatoes with their juices. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour.

Step 4: Brown the Pearl Onions

Meanwhile, peel the onions and brown in a skillet. Add to the stew after an hour and continue cooking until the beef and onions are tender; about 20 to 30 minutes more.

Closeup view of Beef Stifado in a blue bowl

How to Serve Beef Stifado

It’s traditional in Greece to serve this beef stew over cooked orzo, or other pasta like penne. Which is utterly delicious as the juices of the stew mingle with the pasta creating a most perfect meal.

Stifado, though, can also be served with rice and even mashed potatoes.

How to Make Beef Stifado in the Instant Pot

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown the beef in batches. This can also be done in the pressure cooker.

Once browned, set the beef aside and add additional olive oil if necessary. Sauté the onions and carrots until softened. This step can be done in a skillet or directly in the Instant Pot using the Sauté function.

Stir in the salt and pepper, spices, cinnamon stick, and orange zest. Cook for 30 seconds or so until fragrant.

Then stir in the tomatoes with their juices, tomato paste, vinegar, and beef broth.

Cover and set the vent to sealing; cook for 45 minutes at high pressure. Natural release the pressure for 10 minutes before quickly releasing the remaining pressure.

How to Make Beef Stifado in the Slow Cooker

Brown the beef and sauté the onion and garlic then add all the ingredients to the slow cooker pot and cook for 5 hours on high or up to 7-8 hours on low. 

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Side view of bowl of Beef Stifado with fresh parsley
Bowl of Greek Stifado in a blue bowl with oranges in the background

Mediterranean Greek Beef Stifado

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

This Beef Stifado is a Mediterranean, Greek-inspired beef stew recipe that's melt-in-your-mouth delicious, redolent with warm spices, rich, hearty, and utterly satisfying.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablelspoons olive oil
  • 2 lb boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 4-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 strip orange zest
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 lb pearl onions, peeled

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the beef pieces in batches and remove them to a plate. Add remaining butter and olive oil to the pot between batches.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add chopped onion and carrots to the pot. Saute the vegetables until softened; about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, sugar, allspice, red pepper flakes, and orange zest. Cook for another 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in the beef broth vinegar, and tomato paste.
  3. Return the browned beef to the pot. Pour in the tomatoes with their juices and add 1/2 cup of water if needed. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
  4. While the stew is cooking, peel the pearl onions, Then add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large skillet. Brown the pearl onions while stirring frequently.
  5. Add the pearl onions to the stifado and cover. Cook until the beef and onions are tender; about 20 to 30 minutes more. Remove orange zest before serving over cooked orzo.

Notes

Instant Pot Beef Stifado

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown the beef in batches. This can also be done in the pressure cooker.
  2. Once browned, set the beef aside and add additional olive oil if necessary. Sauté the onions and carrots until softened. This step can be done in a skillet or directly in the Instant Pot using the Sauté function.
  3. Stir in the salt and pepper, spices, cinnamon stick, and orange zest. Cook for 30 seconds or so until fragrant.
  4. Then stir in the tomatoes with their juices, vinegar, tomato paste, and beef broth.
  5. Cover and set the vent to sealing; cook for 45 minutes at high pressure. Natural release the pressure for 10 minutes before quickly releasing the remaining pressure.


Slow Cooker Beef Stifado

  • Brown the beef and sauté the onion and garlic then add all the ingredients to the slow cooker pot and cook for 5 hours on high or up to 7-8 hours on low. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 453Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 160mgSodium: 456mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 12gProtein: 51g

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