Meat & Poultry

Beef & Onion Stew (Stifado)

2 hours Cook
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Beef & Onion Stew (Stifado)

Beef & Onion Stew (Stifado)

What makes this dish delicious is the amount of time it takes to stew and simmer. From the smell in your house, to the taste, and the texture, this dish is certainly going to please your palate. Also spelled Stifatho). This has been in the Greek cuisine for over 8 centuries and is a staple in many Greek homes today.
prep time
30 min
cooking time
2 hours
total time
2.5 hours


  • Large frying skillet/pan and Dutch Oven


  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 3 lbs. (1.5 kg) top round of beef, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 3 lbs. (1.5 kg) small white or red pearl onions

  • 1 large red onion, grated

  • 1 ½ cup red wine (any dry kind is fine)

  • 1¼ cup tomato puree (1 ten ounce can in US)

  • 1 cup hot water

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 Cinnamon Stick

  • 2 Bay leaves

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  • Fresh chopped parsley for garnish


First, heat the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add meat and brown on all sides and then add the grated onion till it becomes translucent. Add ½ cup of the wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
Dilute the tomato puree with 1 cup hot water and add to the meat. Cover the saucepan and continue to simmer.
Second, heat the olive oil in a skillet and brown the onions. Add them to the meat, together with the garlic, the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Add the remaining 1 cup wine.
Cover the pot and simmer very slowly for 2 hours until the mean is very tender. Make sure the meat doesn’t stick to the bottom. You might need to add a bit more water if it does. The sauce will have the consistency of a thick puree. Once done, remove the bay leaves and the cinnamon stick and discard.
Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. Serve with a side of roasted carrots, or Brussels Sprouts.
Enjoy! Bon Appetit! Kali Orexi!


In my village, my grandmother would prepare this with rabbit instead of beef. However, it tastes just as good with beef. The typical rule for a proper Stifado is to use equal amounts of meat and onions. If you don’t have pearl onions, you can also use the same amount of shallots. Also, using shallots saves you time from peeling 3 pounds of pearl onions.

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