STIFADO - GREEK BEEF STEW RECIPE
This beef stew recipe is my family's favourite casserole.
I use either beef or rabbit, they both taste delicious, with very different distinct flavours with either meat.
My children love the flavour and the beef or rabbit is so tender it melts in your mouth. I often serve stifado with mashed potato and a green salad.
The large amount of onions give a rich sweet flavour to the sauce.
This beef stew recipe is a very old recipe and was traditionally made with wild rabbit, however, as it is slowly becoming harder to find rabbit, beef has become a wonderful alternative.
1.3kg boneless beef or rabbit, cleaned and cut into portions
800g - 1kg small pickling size onions, peeled and left whole
1 teacup olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic
1 teacup red wine
1/3 teacup red wine vinegar
640g tin tomatoes, or preferably fresh tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 stem of rosemary
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Cut the beef into cubes, or the rabbit into portions.
In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the meat until lightly browned.
Saute the garlic.
Pour the red wine and vinegar over the meat. It will sizzle.
Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, rosemary, cinnamon and salt and pepper.
Add about 250 - 300ml water, make sure its enough to cover everything.
Cover and cook until the meat is almost tender.
In a large frying pan, fry the small onions until lightly browned all over. You may have to do this in batches.
Remove the onions when they are ready and place on top of the meat in the casserole.
Shake the casserole for the meat and onions to mix a little (don't use a spoon to mix as you may disintegrate the onions).
Cover and cook until all is tender - at least 20-30 minutes.
There should be just a small amount of thick tasty sauce left at the bottom.
The reason for frying the onions separately and adding them to the sauce near the end is because this way the onions are more likely to stay whole.
Another variation to this beef stew recipe is to add the onions along with the meat at the beginning. Be careful throughout cooking as the onions are more like to fall apart this way. They do however, take on the lovely flavour of the sauce.
You can speed the cooking process up a little by using the pressure cooker.
I often use this method to prepare the food a little quicker.
I will fry the whole onions in batches at the beginning and put them in with the meat after adding all the other ingredients. Shake the saucepan.
You will only need about 200-250ml water if using the pressure cooker.
Close and seal with the pressure cooker lid.
It usually takes about 15 minutes to get to pressure and cook for 20 minutes at pressure.
Once you have opened it up after cooking, you may need to simmer, uncovered, for a while to reduce the liquid to a thick sauce.
Kali Orexi - Bon Appetit
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