Beef Stifado


  • 1.5 kg stewing beef
  • 24 baby onions
  • 4 ripe tomatoes , or 400g of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée


  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons allspice berries
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1-2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 125 ml dry red wine
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Cooking Method

Place the beef in a large non-reactive bowl. Add the marinade ingredients, peeling and finely slicing the garlic first, then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight.

Peel the baby onions. If using fresh tomatoes, peel and roughly chop. Otherwise, pour the amount straight in.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan and sauté the onions for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Sauté the beef - reserving the marinade - for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned on all sides.

Return the onions to the saucepan, add the marinade, tomatoes and tomato purée and enough water to just cover the stew.

Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil then simmer for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened.

Serve with pasta and grated hard cheese, such as parmesan.

Butcher's Tips

Once you've tried this a few times and become addicted to its intense flavours, you can try swapping the beef for veal or rabbit. Both are available on request.