Rustic Beef and Onion Stew / Stifado

Rustic Beef and Onion Stew 2

Rich and Hearty

Stick to the Ribs

Ultimate Comfort Stew

This recipe came into my home about 10 to 12 years ago.

It was so unforgettable.

Rustic Beef and Onion Stew 3

I look forward to fall so that I can pull it from the binder and keep it in the cupboard, close at hand and ready to make. I pretty much have it memorized.  Cards on the table, it takes some time.  It NEEDS 3-4 hours of simmering on the stove or in the oven (my preference) to do its thing.  But the outcome is an unbelievably rich stew.

You will never guess where I got this recipe….

no not Bon Appetit…

not Martha Stewart….

not even America’s Test Kitchen.

I got it from a children’s cookbook.

Cooking the Greek Way

The first time I made this, my now 20 year old son was probably in second or third grade, we were studying Greek and Roman History.  As a way to further enjoy a culture, I liked to incorporate recipes into our lessons.  Though we didn’t enjoy all the recipes we tried in that particular study, we did fall in love with this one.  So much so, that this same son still asks for “Greek Stew” (as he calls it) for his birthday dinner.

The long simmer on the stove works well, but simmering in a covered dutch oven at 325 -350 degrees for 3 hours renders the meat incredibly tender and the onions melt into a rich meaty jam.

If you don’t cook it for the full 3 hours it still becomes a flavorful stew, but it doesn’t become the incredible dish that it could be.  If you are going to make it, please promise me you will make it the right way, give it the full 3 hour simmer on the stove or in the oven.

Simmer the Stew

You won’t be disappointed.

 I love it served over a pillow of mashed potatoes, my second choice would be rice.  Since my beloved and I are counting our carbs I served it over Cheesy Almond Polenta, but regular Polenta would probably be appropriate too.

Ingredients:

  • 3 T. Vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs. Beef Chuck, cut into 1 – 2 inch cubes
  • 3 C. thinly sliced onions (I prefer red onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6oz can tomato paste
  • 10 1/2 oz beef broth
  • 1 C. water
  • 1/4 C. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves

Preparation:

Note:  Look for well marbled Chuck steak or roast, it adds fat, but produces the most tender results.

Nicely marbled

  1. Heat Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add oil.  Heat to shimmering.  (I like to add any large pieces of fat I have cut from the meat and brown them while the pan heats up.  When they are browned, I remove them and continue.)IMG_8919
  2. Add meat in batches and brown on all sides.  Carefully remove to a bowl and set aside.IMG_8918IMG_8922
  3. Add onions and garlic to the pot and cook until lightly browned.IMG_8920IMG_8925
  4. Return meat to the pot.  Add all the other ingredients, from tomato paste – bay leaves. Mix well.Simmer the Stew
  5. Cover tightly and turn heat to low or move to oven and bake at 350 degrees. Cook for 3-4 hours or until meat is very tender. Stir every 15 – 30 minutes to prevent meat from sticking to the dutch oven. The sauce will become very thick, almost like jam when it is ready.Rustic and Hearty Stew
  6. Remove bay leaves and serve.Rustic Beef and Onion Stew 3
  7. Optional – Sprinkle with a little Feta. Rustic Beef and Onion Stew 2

    Enjoy!

    It truly is an amazing stew!

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