Greek Stifatho Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe
Stifatho is a rich, fall apart braised beef and onion dish that hails from Greece. With a touch of sweetness and beautiful spice, this beef slow cooker recipe makes the perfect comfort food dinner for the months when there is a chill in the evening air. We like to enjoy this beef stew with a simple side of creamy mashed potato and recommend washing it down with a glass of your favourite red wine (if you’re so inclined).
This traditional Greek stew recipe is said to have been brought to Greece by the venetians in the 13th century after the fall of Constantinople. Onions are a key ingredient in this dish. While typically made with smaller picking onions, larger brown onions will work just as well. Also integral to this dish are the spices and currants – if you’re a fan of cinnamon we recommend an extra piece of bark and if you like a little extra sweetness, add a little extra sugar and an additional teaspoon of currants.
For the time poor, beef stifatho is the ultimate of beef slow cooker recipes – when it comes to cooking time, essentially the longer the better! Provided there is enough liquid in the pot it is virtually impossible to overcook this dish. While this recipe recommends cooking for a total of 2.5 hours, cooking time beyond this will make for a darker, richer sauce.
It is recommended to use Provenir’s Slow Cook Diced Beef for this recipe, however if you don’t have diced meat on hand this can also be substituted for Osso Bucco or another of the cuts in our Grass-Fed Beef Slow Cook Pack.
As with all slow cooker recipes, we recommend following a few golden rules (taken from our previous article, The Best Beef Cuts for Slow Cooking).
- Bring your meat to room temperature before beginning to cook – not for long enough to become unsafe (no more than 4 hours is the general rule), but just enough time to take the fridge chill out of the meat. This rule applies to all types of beef and slow cooking is no exception. We recommend bringing the beef out of the fridge for around 30 minutes before you begin preparation to allow the meat to cook more evenly.
- Brown the outside of the meat. Most recipes will call for quickly browning the outside of the meat before placing in the slow cooker. This not only seals the moisture inside the meat but intensifies the flavour of the beef. While it is possible to get away with a perfectly enjoyable result without browning beef first, you’ll notice the difference in both flavour and texture if you take this additional step.
- Don’t allow the meat to become dry. Most slow cooker recipes will involve a reasonable amount of liquid – either marinade or stock – to keep the meat moist throughout the cooking process. If this is the case with the recipe that you are using, it’s always a good idea to ensure that the liquid component covers the meat.
SLOW COOKER BEEF STEW RECIPE
Serves Five to Six People
- 1kg Provenir slow cook diced beef (2 packs)
- 60g butter or oil (we usually use butter)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 125ml tomato passata (or crushed tomatoes)
- 125ml red wine
- 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 pieces cinnamon bark
- 4 cloves
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
- 750g small pickling onions
- 2 tablespoons currants (optional, but we recommend adding them in to add a lovely sweetness to the dish)
- Preheat the slow cooker on high heat
- Heat half of the butter in a frying pan and brown the meat, placing one layer of meat in the pan at a time.
- Transfer the browned meat to the slow cooker dish.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pan with the remaining butter and fry gently until the onion is soft.
- Add the tomato passata, wine and wine vinegar and stir to dislodge any cooked-on bits on the base of the pan. Pour the juices over the meat in the slow cooker dish.
- Stir in the bay leaf, spices and sugar and season with salt and pepper.
- When the dish starts to simmer, turn the heat down to medium and cook for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, remove the tops and roots from the onions. Cut a cross into the root ends to stop the centres popping out during cooking. Place the onions in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 2 minutes, then drain and slip off the skins. After soaking in hot water the skins will now slip off easily. If using larger onions, simply remove the outer skin and cut into quarters.
- Add the onions to the slow cooker along with the currants and cook for a further 1.5 hours or until the meat and onions are tender and the sauce is thick.
- Remove the cinnamon bark along with the remainder of the bay leaf and cloves.
- Serve with mashed potato or pilaff (and a good glass of red wine).
Our Suggested Cut for Beef Slow Cooker Recipes
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