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Friday, February 10, 2012


Warm rich savory food is wonderful on a chilly winter night. Stifado is a meat and onion stew infused with cinnamon, clove, allspice and wine vinegar - it adds a tang to the rich sauce. Add some green vegetables and serve it over plain rice for a complete meal. As a child I remember my mother making this stew on cold evenings.

I've worked this recipe for those who want a healthier option, less fat with lots of flavor.


2 1/2 lbs. stewing meat Chuck steak works very well, cut into cubes.

Marinate: 3/4 cup red wine (something you enjoy drinking!)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
2 tsp each ground allspice and clove 
2 cinnamon sticks (or 2 tsp ground)   
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

1 to 2 cups cipolinne onions
1 to 2 cups shallots
1 to 2 cups pearl onions
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Thinly slice your garlic and measure out your spices. In a large bowl add cubed meat.
put the bay leaves, cinnamon, garlic, allspice, cloves, and salt/pepper. Pour the wine and vinegar over it and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let this marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight to allow the flavors into the meat.

Next step! Peel the shallots and cipolinne onions. If they are very large cut in half, otherwise leave them whole. Frozen pearl onions are wonderful and you can find them in most any market, no need to peel.
In a large pot heat the olive oil on high, add the onions and cook them until they are glistening, remove them into a bowl.
Meanwhile remove the meat from the marinade using tongs. You want to make sure you don't have the whole cloves and allspice berries in the meat. It might take some careful inspection. Reserve the marinade. Add the meat to the pot that you cooked the onions in and brown the meat.

Return the onions into the pot and then add the marinade by pouring it through a sieve. Put the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves in the pot. (Sometimes I'll add a little ground allspice and clove.) Add the vinegar and tomato paste and turn down the heat to simmer once it begins to boil. Loosely cover pot with lid. Cook for 2 to 3 hours until the meat is very tender. You might want a bit more salt, add to taste. Your house will smell amazing. Before serving remove the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. Ladle into a bowl over plain rice if you like or just vegetables. Green beans are great with this dish. A good red wine is the perfect compliment to this stew. Enjoy!!


  1. Do you think this would work if I just threw it all into the crockpot?

    1. It should work great in a crock pot just adjust the time. Also for ease, I strongly recommend ground cloves and allspice.