Monday, June 7, 2010
Stifatho (Greek Stew)
There are many variations to this traditional braised beef stew, but the common thread is the long cooking time that is required in order to bring out the best flavors of this dish. I've cooked this dish using two different methods - stove top and crockpot. The stove top method seemed to produce a deeper flavor than the crockpot**, but the convenience of the crockpot was certainly worth the hassle-free cooking. Try it either way!
3 tblsp fat (some use butter, some use oil. I use coconut oil)
2-3 lbs grassfed beef cut into 1.5" cubes or 4lbs. short ribs (regular stew meat works well also)
1 medium onion, chopped
10 large garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 cup tomato puree (canned or fresh)
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lb small pear onions (optional)
2 tablespoons currants (optional)
1 cup walnut halves
1/2 cup crumbled imported Greek or Bulgarian feta cheese (regular is fine and, of course, optional)
In a dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons butter/oil over medium-high heat, then brown the meat on all sides, about 5 minutes. I add the meat in batches, so I do not overcrowd the pot with meat, since I like to get the meat really browned for best flavor. Remove the meat and place in bowl so the juices are caught in the bowl. Add the chopped onion and garlic cloves to the dutch oven until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes, stirring. Add the tomato puree, wine, and wine vinegar to de-glaze the dutch oven. Pour the meat and its juices back into the dutch oven. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, and season with salt and pepper.
Cover the dutch oven and braise over low heat for 1 hour. Add the small onions and currants and cook until meat falls off the bone (if using short ribs), about 1 hour more. Add the walnuts and cook 20 minutes more. Add the feta cheese and cook 5 minutes then serve.
**If using crockpot method, follow directions up until you cover and cook for one hour. Instead, place ingredients in crockpot after all the sauteeing and cook over high heat for 4 hours.
Posted by Maria at 7:29 PM