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Angela's Beef Stifado
This is a spin on Greek Stifatho. It is a beef, tomatoes and onion stew that many swear is better the next day. This dish can be cooked on the stove or in a crock pot. Photo credit: Echo Echo https://www.food.com/user/121690
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Crock Pot Cook time on HIGH 5 hours
- 1 pound stew beef cleaned and cut into 1" dice
- 2/3 cup pancetta small ½ inch dice
- 1 cup flour + 1Tbl cumin + 1tsp cinnamon + 1tsp salt dredge for beef
- 3 Tbl olive oil cover bottom of pot
- 2 large onions, frenched OR 2 cups boiler onions
- 1 large green or red bell pepper 1" dice
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 6oz can tomato paste Or 3 Tbl from tube
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes san marzano or fire roasted
- ½ cup dry red wine or sherry
- ½ cup beef broth or sub chicken
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ancho powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 1 tsp sugar Optional: to taste if tomatoes are overly acidic
- dash fresh nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves
- S/P to taste seasoning
Toppings to serve
- feta cheese
- toasted pine nuts
- chopped cilantro
Prep all the veg, spices and dredge mix before you start. I use small bowls for all the spices so they are ready to toss in. This is called "mise en place" and will help your cooking go much more smoothly.
Put pot on medium heat with olive oil and pancetta. Render the pancetta slowly, turn down heat it if starts to get too brown. You want it crispy, not burnt. Add in onions, peppers and garlic and sweat them. Keep the heat fairly low, you want them translucent, not browned. About 5 minutes.
While the aromatics are cooking, dredge meat in the flour mixture. Turn up the heat to medium high and add meat to pot with veg. Brown meat, keeping it moving in the pot. When it begins to stick, deglaze with wine and broth. Scrape up the fond (brown bits) from the bottom of the pot. About 6 minutes.
Next, add tomato paste, all the spices, lemon zest and nutmeg. Stir. Add diced tomatoes and stir. Check seasoning. Now is when you'll add sugar if the tomatoes seem too acidic. When seasoning is correct, bring to boil then reduce to simmer.
Keep at a slow simmer for about 2 hours, lid slightly ajar, stirring occasionally. If the stew starts to reduce too much (gets too thick), add a little more broth and turn down heat a little.
When beef is very tender, stew is done. Add in the lemon juice and check seasoning a final time.
Serve with toppings suggested and crusty bread. Or over rice or couscous.
For Crock Pot
The recipe is basically the same, but you'll need to brown the pancetta, aromatics and meat in a skillet before adding to crock pot. Do the first three steps of the recipe, then all the other ingredients can be put in the crockpot (wait to check tomato acidity until the end of cooking). Cut down olive oil to about a Tbl. Cut down broth and wine by half (¼ C of each). Put beef and pancetta in last. Cook on HIGH for about 5 hours or when meat is very tender. As with the stovetop recipe, hold the lemon juice until the stew is done or it will become bitter.
Always add citrus juice at the end of cooking. Adding in early will make it bitter.
Wait to check tomato acidity until the end when you use the crock, because the tomatoes are cooking for a very long time.
If the diced tomatoes seem to have a lot of juice, then only use half of it in the crock pot. Crock pot cooking does not lose as much liquid as stovetop, keep that in mind.