Beef Stifado and Braised Green Beans

I am not a huge fan of Greek food in general.  But there are two dishes I really love from the country: Stifado and braised-to-death green beans.  They are somewhat similar in flavor, but oh well.

Beef Stifado
2 to 3 lbs of good beef stew cuts (chuck, shank, short ribs)
1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes, crushed well
1 cup of chicken stock
2 large onions, caramelized
6-8 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
2 Tbsp of tomato paste
1 cup of red wine
2-3 lbs of pearl onion (I use frozen for price and convenience)
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon of oregano
3 Tbsp of red wine vinegar
cooking oil as needed

(put the following in a cloth satchel if preferred)
6 cloves
2 teaspoons of allspice berries
1/2 Tbsp of black pepper
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 star anise
3 bay leaves

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Brown the beef in large pieces in a large dutch oven.  Set aside and cut into stew chunk sizes, 1 to 2 inches.  Saute garlic and tomato paste until well browned.  Add caramelized onions, spice bag and ground spices/herbs and saute for about 30 seconds.  Then add wine and cook until glazed.  Add can of tomatoes, with juice, and one cup of chicken stock along with red wine vinegar and beef chunks.  Season stew with salt and umami boosters (soy sauce, fish sauce, Worcestershire, etc.).  Transfer to oven with lid slightly open.  Meanwhile saute pearl onions until lightly browned.  Add them to dutch oven after stew has braised for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Braise for another hour or until meat is of desired tenderness.  Serve over rice with feta cheese and parsley for garnish.


Mediterranean Braised Green Beans and other Vegetables
1 onion
6 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
2 Tbsp of tomato paste
1 Tbsp of red pepper flakes or to taste
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes, crushed with juice
1.5 lb of green beans
3/4 to 1 lb of okra, summer squash, zucchini or similar
1.5 cups of chicken stock
1/2 tsp of baking soda
salt/pepper/red wine vinegar to taste
Mint and feta for serving

Bring 1.5 cups of chicken stock to a simmer and add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and green beans.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute onion in a large pot until translucent and then add garlic, tomato paste and red pepper flakes and saute until paste is browned and then add spices.  Add green beans and stock and the can of tomatoes as well as additional vegetables.  Return to a simmer and then place in oven with stifado for about 40 to 50 minutes.  Season with salt,pepper, vinegar and garnish with chopped mint and feta.


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