Beef Stifatho (Στιφάδο) 

Stifado-11The Greek word “Stifatho” literally translates in English to “Comfort Food.” Just kidding. It doesn’t. But it should…

Stifatho (pronounced: stee-FAH- thoh) is a traditional Greek stew. Many Greeks use rabbit or veal as the main ingredient. I’m sticking with beef. Stifatho is easy to prepare. After a quick browning of the meat in butter and olive oil, the remaining small and humble list of ingredients get tossed into one big pot and the stew is set to simmer for hours. No stirring necessary.

Stifado-4I recently conduced a taste test and prepared my family’s Stifatho recipe two ways: traditional method and slow-cooker.

Both yielded the same great taste rich in cinnamon and cloves. Both were simple to prepare, however, the meat seemed to be a little more tender and flavorful with the slow-cooker method. Oh, and guess what? This stew is even more flavorful the next day. So plan on making this the day before you actually want to serve it, and simply reheat in the slow-cooker or stovetop before serving.

Stifado-2Serve alongside egg noodles or orzo- but it’s not necessary. A bowl of this alone with some fresh bread to clean your plate will serve its purpose. Greek comfort food at its finest.


2-pounds beef, cut into 2-inch cubes

2-tablespoons olive oil

3-tablespoons butter

2-pounds boiler onions, peeled

2-cans tomato sauce (15 ounces each)

1-cup red wine

4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole

2-tablespoons brown sugar

1-teaspoon ground cloves

1-teaspoon allspice

2-cinnamon sticks

2-bay leaves


In a heavy bottom pan or a French/Dutch Oven, brown beef cubes in olive oil and butter, about 2 minutes each side. Work in batches so the meat isn’t too crowded.

Traditional Method: Add remaining ingredients to the pot, stir, cover and simmer for 2 hours over low heat. No need to stir- just let… it… cook… slowly… :)

Slow-Cooker Method: Add remaining ingredients to slow-cooker plus 2 cups of water. Cover and cook 5-7 hours on high, or 9-11 hours on low. (Cooking times may vary according to appliance. For this recipe I use the Crock Pot Touchscreen Digital. 


Time Saving Tip: Don’t waste time peeling (and crying over) those little boiler onions. Place them, skin and all, in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Submerge them into an ice bath to stop the cooking, then, with a small knife in one hand, cut the bottom off and pinch the skin off with your other hand. The onions will pop right out of their skin.

Stifado-8 Stifado-9 Stifado-10

©2015 by Alexandra Salidas Roll, Figs & Feta, LLC.

Recipe and photos by Alexandra Salidas Roll of Figs & Feta, LLC.  Please do not reprint this recipe without permission.  If you would like to feature this recipe on your blog or site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link your post to this one as the original source.  Thank you!

3 thoughts on “Beef Stifatho (Στιφάδο) ”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: