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  • Writer's pictureKyveli Papaioannou

Hearty Greek Stifado Recipe

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

a plate with Stifado on a tableclothe, with fork and knife

Perhaps one of the most delicious dishes is stifado, whose secrets lie in the slow fire or the patience for the flavors to meld and the stirring with a simple shake of the pot. It doesn't need a spoon because it will dissolve the little onions (shallots) which, in the meantime, with the hours of simmering, have absorbed all the tastiness of the food.

I'm trying to imagine the surprise of the first people who discovered the onion. The surprise that the secret life hidden in layers of skin caused, which, as you peel them away and start cutting the flesh, brings tears to the eyes, like the effort to reach the heart of a relationship. Like two heart friends, who, peeling away years and experiences, come together again, filling eyes with tears.

I was thinking about how patience and respect create the sweet relationship that delights the soul and satisfies every hunger. A festive meal that gathers loved ones around a table with faint plates and exclamations of deep satisfaction.

Here is the recipe with all the secrets for an unforgettable result. If you have time, do the whole process in the oven. Start slowly and let it simmer all night, so the meat becomes tender, and the onions become sweet. If you decide, along with the spices, fill the pot with water, cover it well, and let the food simmer in the oven for 12 hours.

Stifado Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1.200gr beef

  • 2 kilos of shallots

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 can (500gr) crushed tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1 teaspoon anise

  • 1 teaspoon spice

  • 1 teaspoon thyme

  • 1 teaspoon cinamon

  • 1 teaspoon cloves

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 bayleaf

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/2 cup of red wine

  • 1/4 cup of white vinegar

  • 1 cup olive oil

Instructions for a Hearty Greek Stifado with Red Wine:

1. Prepare the Shallots for Stifado:

  • Peel the shallots

two hands peel a shallot

  • Rinse them well with clean water

  • Put them in a colander to drain.

2. Brown the Beef for the Greek Stifado:

  • In a casserole, heat 1 cup of olive oil over medium heat.

  • Add all the herbs, with the shallots, and the garlic and stir over the law heat to develop their aroma.

on a surface there is shallots, a bottle with olive oil, a bottle with white vinegar, a garlic and a white plate with spices and herbs

  • Add the pieces of beef and cook until lightly browned.

a casserole with meat and herbs

  • Add 1/2 cup of red wine and the white vinegar; it will impart extra flavor and assist in tenderizing the meat.

Tip: In this Stifado recipe, instead of beef you can use chicken legs. The fat of the chicken adds an extra flavor in this Greek stew with pearl onions delicious recipe .

3. Create the Sauce for Stifado:

  • When the wine evaporates, stir in the crushed tomatoes, and the tomato paste.

  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • Simmer the food for 2 hours on low heat, allowing the flavors to meld. If you are in a hurry, use a pressure cooker and cook the food for 45 minutes.

Tip: When the stifado starts to simmer, avoid using a spoon to stir the food, as it may break apart the shallots. Instead, shake the casserole gently and in a circular motion to ensure all the ingredients combine.

4. Cook Stifado in the oven:

  • Remove the meat from the casserole and transfer it to an ovenproof dish. Very carefully empty the shallots with the remaining sauce into the dish.

a pyrex filled with stifado

  • Bake for 1 hour in a low fire, until all the extra liquid evaporates.

6. Simmer to Perfection:

  • Leave Stifado in the oven to develop aromas and continue cooking with the remaining heat.

A pyrex with Stifado


  • Serve the Stifado with crusty bread and a glass of red wine to enjoy with friends. Cheers!

a white plate filled with Stifado (beef with shallots in red sauce)


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