How to prepare a Beef Stifado

The classic beef stifado which is often served in a paper papillote or cover.

Serves 4


  • 800 grams (1.7 lbs) beef stew meat, cut into chunks
  • 400 grams (14 oz) small onions, peeled
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 400 grams (14 oz) canned crushed tomatoes
  • 500 ml (2 cups) beef broth
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) red wine
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4-5 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Olive oil (for cooking)


  1. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Season the beef chunks with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides in the hot oil. Remove the browned beef from the pot and set it aside.
  3. In the same pot, add a little more olive oil if needed. Add the peeled onions and sauté them until they start to soften and caramelize slightly.
  4. Stir in the minced garlic and tomato paste, and cook for another minute to enhance the flavors.
  5. Deglaze the pot by adding the red wine and red wine vinegar. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  6. Return the browned beef to the pot and add the crushed tomatoes, beef broth, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, whole cloves, dried oregano, and dried thyme. Stir well to combine.
  7. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and let it simmer gently for about 2 to 2.5 hours, or until the beef is tender and the flavors have melded together. Check the stifado occasionally, stirring and adding more broth or water if needed to prevent it from drying out.
  8. Once the beef is tender, taste the stifado and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and cloves.
  9. Serve the beef stifado hot, accompanied by your choice of side dishes such as rice, mashed potatoes, or crusty bread. The flavorful stew and tender beef make for a satisfying and comforting meal.
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