Authentic Greek Beef Stifado Recipe
Beef stifado is a Greek beef stew that is slowly cooked with lots of onions and spices. Even though I’m not a big fan of meat, I can’t help but enjoy the tender and delicious taste of beef stifado. Moreover, my whole family fell in love with this dish when they first tried it in Corfu, so when Matt and I had the chance to learn an authentic beef stifado recipe from a Greek chef, we took it with both hands!
History of beef stifado
Stifado, alongside pastitsada (another Greek beef stew), came to Corfu with the Venetians in the 13th century. The Italian name “stufado“, which means stew, became stifado in Greece and underwent some changes.
If you’re ever in Corfu, add it to your list of things to try there! You won’t regret it. In the meantime, you can try it at home.
Our mouth-watering beef stifado recipe😋
Authentic Greek Beef Stifado Recipe
This beef stifado recipe is an absolute classic all over Greece.
- Baby shallots (or pearl onions): 1 kg
- Regular onions: 2
- Beef: 1 kg
- Freshly ground pepper: 1/2 tsp
- Salt: 1 tbsp
- Garlic cloves: 2
- Olive oil: 150 ml
- Red wine vinegar: 200 ml
- Bay leaves: 5
- Water: 500 ml
- Prepare the ingredients: peel the baby shallots and leave to one side, cut the beef into cubes, and peel the regular two onions and cut them finely.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
- Once the oil is hot, add the beef cubes and fry it on high heat, stirring regularly.
- Let the beef fry for 5-10 minutes, then turn it over and fry on the other side until brown.
- While the beef is cooking, put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the shallot onions on medium heat till golden brown (around 10-15 minutes). Toss and stir them regularly.
- When the beef is browned, add the finely cut regular onions to the beef pot and stir it well.
- Peel and cut the garlic cloves and add them to the pot as well. Let the ingredients fry for a minute.
- By now, your shallots should be all cooked. Take them off the heat and add them to the beef.
- Now it's time to spice it all. Add the bay leaves, a glass of red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to the pot.
- Mix it all together and add around 500 ml of water.
- Once the beef stew starts to boil, turn the heat down to medium and slow cook for at least 1.5 hours, ideally 2 hours or more. When the beef is tender, it will fall apart in your mouth.
- Serve beef stifado in a dish with some parsley or dill sprinkled on top.
What to serve with stifado?
Stifado can be served with a side dish like creamy mashed potatoes, chips, pasta, orzo, or rice, or the easiest way is with pita. If you don’t have pita, crusty whole wheat bread or flatbread will go as well with this beef stifado.
You can also eat it on its own if you prefer.
What meat can be used for the stifado recipe?
Greek stifado is usually made using rabbit, tender beef, or lamb cut into medium-sized pieces, with a large number of shallot onions. The shallot is an invariable component of stifado – no matter what meat you use, it won’t be stifado without the small onions.
Rabbit meat is white, tasty, and extremely healthy. It contains little cholesterol and few calories and is recommended for diet food. It may be a little more difficult to obtain than the others, but you can ask at your local butchers.
Stifado is a great dish with any type of meat. We haven’t tried lamb stifado yet, but it’s on our to-eat list. 🙂
Is stifado cooked in tomato sauce?
For our beef stifado recipe, you do not need tomato purée, tomato paste or chopped tomatoes. There are different versions where stifado is cooked with tomatoes and a cinnamon stick, just like pastitsada.
How to make stifado at home?
It’s a very easy recipe that just requires a lot of cooking time as it slowly cooks the beef until it’s juicy and tender. The ingredients are simple and if you follow our instructions then success is guaranteed. The only annoying part might be peeling the shallots, but see our tips above for how to best deal with that.
Can I cook stifado in a slow-cooker?
Yes, for sure. A slow-cooker is ideal for this delicious Greek beef stifado.
Enjoy your very own Greek beef stew
Whether you use the stove or a slow-cooker, beef or rabbit, stifado is a Corfiot staple and is one of our favourite dishes in all of Greek cuisine. We hope you enjoy it just as much as we do! If you want to have a few other Greek dishes up your sleeve, try our moussaka recipe, or perhaps a brunch like spanakopita, or if you’re in the mood for dessert, then you have to try an authentic Greek strawberry cheesecake, or perhaps a some traditional baklava…
If you fancy a slow-cooked Slavic alternative, our borscht recipe is soo yummy! For other international recipes, see our world recipe page.