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Kefalonian Beef Stifado recipe

Kefalonian Beef Stifado recipe

  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Beef
  • Cuts of beef
  • Steak
  • Stewing steak

Beef stifado in traditional Greek style. A reminder of holidays in the sun.

Derbyshire, England, UK

182 people made this

IngredientsServes: 2

  • 400g stewing beef
  • 50g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 shallots, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 300ml red wine
  • 200ml beef stock
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and black pepper to taste

MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:3hr ›Ready in:3hr5min

  1. Coat the beef with the flour, shaking of any excess. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a high heat and then cook the beef until browned all over. Remove the beef and set aside.
  2. Add the shallots and the garlic to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, until the shallots are starting to brown. Add the red wine vinegar and scrape the pan to release and stuck meat.
  3. Add the beef again and all other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Bring to the boil and then simmer slowly for 3-4 hours. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf before seasoning.


Serve with chips and salad as a reminder of your holidays or rice or mashed potato for something a little different.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(12)

Reviews in English (16)

Something else.Done it in the slow cooker for 5 hours and just added some chopped carrots and cubed potatoes for a more 'complete' meal, served with some warm crusty bread. Would make again!-27 Oct 2010

Really enjoyed this dish tho i would use less liquid or even add a little more beef!-30 Mar 2012

This was very good and easy. The only problem I was'nt sure what it was suppose to taste like and I am fond of wine in my food. Always seems like theres an after taste. So I cut it back a little and my husband and I love it. Thanks so much for sharing.-08 Feb 2011

The Hairy Bikers' beef stifado recipe

A traditional Greek meat stew, stifado can be made with pork or rabbit as well as beef. It always contains loads of little onions, cooked whole, and can be served with some short macaroni-style pasta if you fancy.

Recipe extracted from The Hairy Bikers&rsquo Meat Feast by Si King & Dave Myers, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. See the Hairy Bikers cooking live at the BBC Good Food Show Summer, NEC Birmingham, 16th-19th June. Tickets available now via


  • 1 kg chuck steak, cut into large chunks (at least 8cm)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g pickling onions, peeled and left whole
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped OR
  • 400 g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano or parsley leaves (optional), to serve
  • 2.2 lbs chuck steak, cut into large chunks (at least 8cm)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 17.6 oz pickling onions, peeled and left whole
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped OR
  • 14.1 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano or parsley leaves (optional), to serve
  • 2.2 lbs chuck steak, cut into large chunks (at least 8cm)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 17.6 oz pickling onions, peeled and left whole
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped OR
  • 14.1 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano or parsley leaves (optional), to serve
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 3cm/1inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp allspice berries
  • 0.5 tsp coriander seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 strip of thinly pared orange peel
  • 300 ml red wine
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 3cm/1inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp allspice berries
  • 0.5 tsp coriander seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 strip of thinly pared orange peel
  • 10.6 fl oz red wine
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 3cm/1inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp allspice berries
  • 0.5 tsp coriander seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 strip of thinly pared orange peel
  • 1.3 cups red wine


  • Cuisine: Greek
  • Recipe Type: Main
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Preparation Time: 400 mins
  • Cooking Time: 80 mins
  • Serves: 6


  1. Put the beef in a glass, ceramic or plastic bowl &ndash metal can react with the marinade &ndash and season with salt and pepper. Add all the marinade ingredients, then cover and marinate for several hours or overnight.
  2. When you&rsquore ready to start cooking, heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Add the onions and cook them over a medium heat, shaking regularly, until they have taken on some colour on all sides. Remove them from the casserole.
  3. Strain the beef, reserving the marinade, and pat it dry. Add a splash more olive oil to the casserole if necessary and sear the beef until well browned. You may have to do this in a couple of batches.
  4. Return the meat and the onions to the pan.
  5. Add the reserved marinade to the casserole. Mix the tomato purée with a little water, and add this to the casserole, together with the tomatoes and honey. Season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  6. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a low simmer.
  7. Cover the casserole with a lid and cook the stifado for 1&ndash1½ hours until the meat and onions are tender.
  8. Stir at intervals, turning over the meat each time. Sprinkle with fresh oregano or parsley leaves if you like.


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  • Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Preparation Time 15 minutes
  • Cooking Time 3 hours
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g stewing beef (chopped into 2inch square pieces give or take)
  • 500g baby onions
  • sugar (just a pinch)
  • 6 new potatoes (about a handful), halved
  • 130g chopped tomatoes (1/3 of a tin)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree, heaped
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • ½ tbsp cinnamon, ground
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (about 2 inches long)
  • nutmeg (a few grates), grated
  • 3 bay leaves
  • garlic (3x cloves), sliced
  • 12 black peppercorns (whole)
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 60ml red wine vinegar
  • 90ml red wine
  • 500ml stock (or water)
  • fresh parsley (to garnish), chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 170'C (if using) or slow cooker to LOW
  2. In a hot pan add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sear the stewing beef to give some colour - do it in batches so not to overcrowd the pan
  3. Once browned set aside
  4. In the same pan add enough oil to cover the base of the pan (part of this dish is about enjoying the flavour of the extra virgin olive oil so don't hold back!) and add your onions, a small pinch of sugar and fry until the onions start to caramelise
  5. Then add all the dry ingredients (except the parsley) and fry for a minute before adding the vinegar and wine
  6. Bring to the boil, then add your beef and any juices back into the pan, pour in enough stock to just cover the ingredients
  7. Pop in the oven for 3 hours or slow cooker for 6 hours (or as instructed for stewing steak by the manufacturer)
  8. Once cooked, remove from the oven, add the chopped parsley, season and serve!
  9. Goes well with rice or if you've added lots of new potatoes just put it straight in a bowl

Beef Stifado

This gorgeous beef stifado recipe is a traditional Greek casserole with beef and onions – perfect winter comfort food. Serve with lots of crusty bread to mop up the aromatic sauce. It is also typically made with rabbit, so feel free to substitute this if you wish.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1kg (2 1/4 lb) beef stew meat, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 100ml (4 fl oz) red wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 strip fresh orange peel
  • 400g (7 oz) passata
  • 100ml (4 fl oz) water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 500g (1 1/4 lb) pearl onions, peeled
  1. Heat half of the butter and half of the first tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Brown half of the beef on all sides, and place into a large saucepan. Repeat with the remaining butter, olive oil and beef. Stir the onions and garlic into the oil remaining in the skillet, and reduce heat to medium cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in the red wine, bring to a simmer, then scrape the onions into the saucepan with the beef.
  2. Season the beef with cinnamon, nutmeg and orange peel. Pour in the passata and water. Cover, and bring to a simmer over medium high heat then reduce heat to medium-low, and continue simmering 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Stir in the pearl onions, and cook until they are well browned, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. After the beef has simmered for an hour, add the pearl onions, recover, and continue simmering 25 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid, and simmer uncovered until the stew has reduced and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove the orange peel before serving.

Pearl onions are also known as button onions. These white onions are particularly sweet, and larger in size than brown pickling onions. You could use small shallots in a pinch.

Greek Slow Cooked Beef Stifado

When you get home, your house will smell like cinammon and stew and all you’ll need to do is boil some orzo. It’s a family favorite around here and it’s just too easy!!

  • 1 1/2 lbs. stew meat
  • 1 28 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp. dried Greek oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. orzo
  • Feta cheese

Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper and brown in your cast iron skillet.

Place the meat in the slow cooker and top with tomato sauce and red wine. Add cinnamon stick, bay leaf, sugar, oregano, and garlic.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Boil orzo and cook to al dente. Drain and top with Beef Stifado from the slow cooker. The meat should fall apart, fork tender. Serve with a hunk of cool, crumbly feta cheese and a fresh garnish of parsley.


One Response to Greek Slow Cooked Beef Stifado

You know that I am not a big meat eater but this is absolutely delicious. Have to be honest….. that I had a recipe for this when we lived in England and it did not quite taste like yours honey, but not sure if it was the recipe or the cook. For those of you that don’t know… I am Nicole’s Mom and I have to admit Nicole does not get her cooking talents from me but I have tried numerous recipes that she has posted and if I stick to the recipe….. it’s almost as good as hers.

Melt in Your Mouth Slow-Cooked Lamb Stifado

Lamb Stifado is a fabulous meaty Greek stew that’s slow-cooked with a gorgeously rich sauce, giving you the most tender and flavoursome chunks of meat.

This Lamb Stifado is absolutely delicious and super easy to make!

If your freezer is ready for you to fill with delicious food, this is a delicious batch cooking freezer friendly recipe that’s just perfect for making ahead. The benefits of batch cooking include saving money, wasting less food and spending more time in the evenings with your family. This way, you can always have a meal waiting for you at the end of the day. It’s a great way to make weeknight cooking manageable. I hope you enjoy this recipe! It’s a staple in our house. I make it often to have on standby in the freezer and it’s also fabulous for entertaining.

We are so excited that you are making a recipe and would love to see how it turns out. Make sure to use the hashtag on social media!


  • 1 Kilo Lean Stewing Beef Cubed
  • ½ Kilo of Shallots or Small Onions
  • 2 glasses Red wine
  • 1-2 Tbsps White Vinegar – Cypriots use Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2-3 Bay leaves
  • 2-3 tbsps Olive Oil
  • 1-2 Cinnamon Sticks or ½ - 1 tsp powdered cinnamon
  • 2-4 Garlic Cloves crushed (more or less - your choice)
  • 2-4 Cloves (optional)
  • Small sprig of fresh rosemary
  • ½ Kilo Baby or Medium Vine Tomatoes
  • 2 -3 tbsp tomato puree
  • Ground Salt to your taste
  • freshly boiled water approximately 1 litre for cooking the stew

Let’s cook this succulient Cyprus beef casserole!

Greek beef stew with pearl onions (Stifado)

If you know any Greeks, then you’ve probably heard of Stifado. Stifado is a traditional Greek beef stew with LOTS of onions which lend great depth of flavor and a subtle sweetness that makes it irresistible. Sometimes it’s made with baby onions or pearl onions, and other times it’s made with regular sliced onions. I actually prefer it with regular sliced onions because they caramelize much better but pearl onions make it look more pretty and festive. But, tradition is not very strict in this case and also this stew will taste delicious no matter what type of onions you choose!

Beef is not the only type of meat you can use to make Stifado. You can also make this traditional Greek onion stew with veal, rabbit, or hare. Especially hare, is considered a delicacy but it’s very difficult to be found. Depending on the type of the meat, cooking times may change but the procedure remains the same.

This Greek beef stew with orzo pasta (Youvetsi) is a very similar recipe to Stifado, with the difference that it uses more tomatoes and it’s finished in the oven. It is probably somewhat lighter, because it doesn’t contain so many onions. And just because we’re speaking of Greek stews, this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the classic drunken pork stew (a.k.a.Bekri Meze) made with lots of wine and peppers!

Some notes/tips:

  • The Cretan recipe for Stifado is made with cumin. In other parts of Greece, cinnamon and cloves are used instead (for the quantities given in the recipe, substitute cumin with one cinnamon stick and 3-4 cloves).
  • Cumin can lose its power quickly. If your ground cumin is not very fresh you may have to increase the amount given in the recipe. Taste and adjust to your liking!
  • Bring the meat to room temperature and pat dry very well before cooking.
  • Because Stifado contains a lot of onions, it can be heavy for some people. For a lighter recipe you can boil the onions in a pot filled with water for 5-10 minutes, rinse them well, and then add them to the stew.

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Beef Stifado (Slimming World Friendly)

My super simple Slimming World friendly Beef Stifado recipe

Autumn is officially here and I’m on a mission to fill our freezer ready for those evenings when I just want to hibernate in front of the fire. This simple, slow cooked casserole is just the ticket.

A couple of years ago, we spent a blissful week with friends in Cyprus. Now, it was a first holiday with children so it was, how shall we say, a learning curve? I had a pair of fearless toddlers who had learned to walk that week and they planned on leaping into the swimming pool at any given moment. But my resounding memory of that week is laughs with friends and some seriously memorable food. Perfectly light and delicate pastries, rich, deep tomato sauces and meltingly soft meats.

In these grey autumn days, this dish takes me right back there somehow, to those hot sticky evenings, sitting in a Cypriot village square, recovering from rescuing toddlers from their very first walking adventures. Now, where can I find some Cypriot wine.

A couple of notes on the recipe, shallots are a total pain but they are worth the faff for this recipe. Pop them unpeeled in a big bowl, pour over boiling water, leave for 10 minutes and drain. They will be a million times easier to peel – hurrah!

The cooking time will depend on the size of beef chunks. Mine were from the butcher, quite large so this batch needed 3 hours. If there’s any hint of resistance when you try to cut a piece of the meat, put the casserole back in the oven for a while. It’s worth the long cooking time.

If you can find some, this is fabulous served with orzo pasta.

I garnished the stifado with some fresh oregano as it happened to be growing in the garden, if you do have some I’d recommend it for adding a fresh finish to the dish.

(serves 6)
1 lamb shoulder, about 2kg
Olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 heads of garlic
2 lemons
1 kg waxy potatoes
1 large red onion
1 red pepper
1 bay leaf
12 cherry tomatoes

Rub the meat with oil. Sprinkle over the cinnamon, oregano and salt, and peel and roughly crush half a head of garlic. Rub all this into the meat with your hands along with the juice of one lemon. Cover and leave for 12 hours.

Heat the oven to 160C. Cut the potatoes into wedges and use them to line the base of a large lidded casserole dish (or use a roasting tin lined with enough parchment paper to fold over the top of the joint on both sides – you’ll probably need two pieces at right angles). Cut the onion into wedges and the pepper into chunky strips, removing the seeds, then add the cherry tomatoes. Place the lamb on top. Cut the remaining garlic and lemon in half laterally, squeeze the lemon briefly over the potatoes, and tuck the shells and the garlic in around the joint along with the bay leaf. Pour 200ml water into the dish. If using a casserole dish, tuck a damp piece of greaseproof on top and cover, if using a roasting dish, sprinkle the overhanging paper with water and fold over and tuck in to form a sealed package. Bake for 4-5 hours until very tender.

Turn the oven up to 220C and roast, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes at this higher temperature, then lift the joint out and set aside. Put the vegetables back in for 15 minutes until starting to brown, then serve with the meat.

Kleftiko: Greek cooking at its best? Do you like to keep yours simple, or make it a meal in itself like this one? And what do you serve with it?

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