Beef stifado 

Beef stifado 

The cold weather is set to continue for a few days so why not make a batch of my beef stifado to keep you going?  

This is an aromatic sweet and sour stew from Greece. The beef needs marinating overnight but once that's done, you're good to go. Perfect for freezer filling too!
Serves 4

For the marinade

  • 350ml red wine
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into 2
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Grated zest and juice of 1/ orange

For the stew

  • 900g beef chuck steak, cut into 5-7cm pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 16 shallots, peeled and left whole (to remove the skins, submerge in a bowl of boiling water for a minute and then plunge into cold water. The skins should slip off easily.)
  • 400g tin tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 ½ tbsp. sugar
  • 30g currants
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

  • Chopped fresh parsley

Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade, then pour it over the bee fin a non-metallic bowl, stirring to coat all the pieces. Cover and leave overnight in the fridge to marinate.

The following day, preheat the oven to 160 C. Remove the meat from the marinade, shaking off as much liquid as you can, and dry the pieces with some kitchen paper – try to get the pieces as dry as possible otherwise they will spatter in the fat. Reserve the marinade for later.

In a heavy based flameproof casserole dish that has a lid, heat the olive oil and brown the meat for 3-4 minutes (in batches if necessary) before setting aside in a bowl. Add the onion, celery, carrot and shallots to the pan and cook gently until the onion is soft. Add a little more oil and a splash of water if the pan is too dry.

Pour in the reserved marinade followed by the tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, currants and the browned meat. Finish with a few grinds of black pepper and some generous pinches of salt. Make sure everything is well combined.

Put the lid on and cook in the oven for 2-2.5 hours until the sauce has thickened and the beef is tender. Serve scattered with chopped parsley and accompanied by pasta or rice.

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