Beef Stifado

Beef Stifado
4.0/5 rating (16 votes)

  • Ready in: 45'
  • Serves: 6
  • Complexity: medium


  • beef: 1½ k, rump, cut into large chunks
  • baby onions: 1½ k, peeled, whole
  • garlic: 3-4 cloves, finely chopped
  • tinned plum tomatoes: 600 g, diced
  • tomato paste: 1 tbsp
  • olive oil: 1 teacup
  • cloves: 5
  • black peppercorn: 5-6 grains
  • cinnamon: 1 stick
  • salt
  • pepper
  • For the marinade
  • garlic: 2 cloves, finely chopped
  • bay leaves: 3, cracked
  • black peppercorn: 5-6 grains
  • vinegar: ¼ teacup
  • wine: 370ml, Mavrodaphne (a Greek sweet red wine)
  • onion: 1, coarsely grated


  1. In a deep mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients of the marinade. Add the chunks of rump making sure the marinade covers them entirely. Leave in the fridge for 12 hours, turning the chunks over every once in a while.

  2. Remove the meat from the marinade and set the liquid aside. Pat dry the meat with paper towels, heat ½ cup of olive oil and deep fry until the chunks are brown. Next, remove from the pan and, in the same oil, add the baby onions whole. Fry them until golden brown and remove with a slotted spoon.

  3. In a large pot, heat the remaining oil and add in the chunks of meat arranging them side by side. Add the plum tomatoes, the garlic, the cinnamon, the cloves, the peppercorn, the salt and the pepper.

  4. Dissolve the tomato paste into the marinade mixture that you have kept aside and pour into the pot. If needed, pour in a little more water and then add the onions. Bring to a simmer and cook for an extra hour until the onions have softened and the sauce thickened.


With all the regular spices of a tomato sauce stew featuring as star ingredients and flavored with zesty baby onions, stifado has a great affinity with red, brusco (robust) wines with an exuberant personality. Opt for aged Greek Xinomavro or Syrah-based wines, or even blends of these varieties with Merlot or Cabernet.