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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Slow-cooker Greek Stifado (Beef Stew with Tiny Onions and Spices)

I've been wanting to make a this Greek beef stew for years. I was happy with how this recipe turned out both in flavor and ease of preparation.


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Slow-cooker Greek Stifado (Beef Stew with Tiny Onions and Spices)


Adapted from The Mediterranean Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone
Serves 6-8

2-3 T olive or vegetable oil
3 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
24 pearl onions, trimmed, or frozen pearl onions, thawed
1/2 c dry red wine
1/4 c cognac, optional
3 T red wine vinegar
1 28-oz can tomato puree (or 1 can whole tomatoes, blended)
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh thyme (or 1/2 teas dried thyme)
1 cinnamon stick
4-6 whole cloves
1 teas allspice berries
1/2 whole nutmeg, smashed and broken (optional)
chopped mint (optional)

Pat the beef dry and season with salt and pepper. In batches, brown the beef in the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Turn on the slow-cooker and when each batch of beef is browned, place inside the cooker.

Add the chopped onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat until softened. Add garlic and stir, cooking just a minute. Stir in wine, vinegar, and pearl onions. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat and pour into the slow-cooker. Stir in the tomato puree.

In a piece of cheese cloth, place the bay leaf, thyme, cinnamon stick, cloves, allspice berries, and nutmeg. Tie with with twine and place in the slow-cooker.

Stir everything together and cook for an hour on high and 6-7 hours on low until the beef is very tender.

Remove the herb/spice packet. Serve hot on orzo, rice, mashed potatoes, or couscous. Sprinkle each serving with chopped mint.

Notes:

Other online recipes suggest cumin and/or rosemary. I thought the cumin might make flavors rather muddy.

If you don't cook with alcohol, increase the vinegar by a tablespoon or two and when finished cooking, taste it. The flavor should be somewhat tart.

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