Stifado (Cypriot beef stew)

9DB67351-6C32-462D-BD05-C4E46DA038B0Goodness I’m so behind with posting recipes on my blog! I’ve only posted a couple since before Christmas!! Not that I’ve ever been a prolific blogger!! So there isn’t any chance I’ll be filling up your inbox!!! I really should schedule posting recipes in to my life, it would actual save me trying to remember where recipes are because I often refer to my own blog for quickness. 

A few weeks back I cooked a few Cypriot/Greek dishes that I haven’t cooked for awhile for my husbands birthday celebrations. I do love that a lot of the cuisine can be eaten at room temperature or can happily be kept warm BUT some of it takes a lot of prep, rolling meatballs can get a tad monotonous as can rolling vine leaves! This Greek Beef stew however is really simple, well apart from the onion prep! It’s not many ingredients and is perfect for cooking ahead as I did then I just reheated it and kept it hot in my Aga simmering oven. I served it as part of a feast but it’s perfect as a dish on it’s own with rice or lovely with creamy mash, of course chunks of wonderful Greek bread are a must! You can use regular white onions but I prefer shallots they are a pain to peel but they look so much better and taste delicious. I was told years ago to pierce the middle of the shallot with a tip of a sharpe knife to keep them whole whilst cooking, I have no idea if this is just an old wives tale but they stay whole!! 

There are lots of different recipes for this dish, you can add red wine, use beef stock, add a few sprigs of fresh thyme and some people add Cypriot potatoes. Below is a very simple recipe that delivers on flavour with few ingredients. Just make sure your beef is beautifully tender and falling apart.

I best stop waffling and get on with the recipe, below i’ll share how I made it but some recipes are slightly different. This makes a big pot but it’s great for leftovers so it won’t go to waste. You can easily get this ready the day before and just reheat when needed which makes for a perfect lazy weekend supper. 

You will Need: large heavy based pan 


  • 11/2 Kg of lean braising beef cubed
  • 1 1/2 Kg of shallots, peeled 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 x cans chopped tomatoes 
  • 100ml of olive oil
  • 5 tbsp of red wine vinegar
  • 3 pieces of cinnamon bark
  • 1 tsp of whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Salt and black pepper


Get everything prepped and allow plenty of time to peel the shallots, keeping them whole. Heat the olive oil in your pan then brown the meat in batches, don’t over crowd the pan, as they brown remove and set aside and continue until all the meat is done.


Next add the shallots to the pan and cook gently, stirring occasionally until they are caramelised.


Now add the garlic being careful not to let it burn, just for a min before adding the tins of tomatoes, vinegar and spices and season well with salt and black pepper.

Stir in 200ml of boiled water. Cover tightly with a lid and simmer for a minimum of 2 hours, start tasting to check for the meat to be very tender. I simmered mine for about 3 hours. Just keep an eye on it and give it the occasional stir being gentle because of the shallots. It really doesn’t matter if they don’t stay whole, lots of people use sliced onionsI just think it looks nice!

The sauce should have reduced if you think its to dry you can add a splash of water, I didn’t. I then chilled mine and bought it up to a bubbling simmer the next day and then left it in my simmering oven until we were ready.


Serve with plain boiled rice, or as I mentioned before it’s delicious with creamy mash and some steamed greens. 


Deb x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s