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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Crock-Pot Greek-Style Beef Stew



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...As you know, stifado is a Greek stew. It can be made with rabbit, hare or beef and it's slowly simmered with a quantity of onions until the cubed meat is meltingly tender. The stew is both sweet and sour and is fairly unique in the spices that are used to flavor it. The dish I'm featuring tonight is Greek-like. I would never claim it to be authentic and I don't want to become embroiled in arguments waged by those who believe theirs to be the definitive stew. I've combined stew meat, pearl onions and tomatoes in a slow cooker and seasoned them with cinnamon, allspice and cloves to produce a stew that becomes Greek-like when topped with feta cheese and walnuts. This is a no fuss dinner and once the meat and onions have been browned, it is a meal that takes care of itself. The recipe I used was was developed by Lynn Alley, and the only change I've made to it, is to use a bit more garlic and add a small amount of vinegar at the end of cooking. Those of you who love to use the crock-pot or slow cooker will love this recipe. Those of you who do not can achieve the same results by braising the stew in a 250 degree F. oven for 6 to 7 hours, or until the meat is fork tender. Either way, you'll have a wonderful family meal that is delicious when served with rice and a salad. The recipe calls for a bouquet garni. Remember you can use a coffee filter rather than cheesecloth to hold the herbs and spices in place. Here's the recipe.

Crock-Pot Greek-Style Beef Stew...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Lynn Alley

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
2 pounds boneless beef stew meat or top round steak, trimmed or fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks across the grain
24 white pearl onions, trimmed
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup hearty red wine
3 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks (4-inch)
4 cloves garlic, smashed flat
8 whole cloves
4 allspice berries
Kitchen twine (for bouquet garni)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled, for serving
3/4 cup coarsely broken walnut pieces, for serving
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley, for serving

Directions:

1) In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1-1/2 tablespoons oil until very hot. While it is heating, combine flour, salt and pepper in a large zipper-top plastic bag. Add beef chunks to bag and shake until well coated. Add half of beef to hot oil and brown on all sides, for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium or large slow cooker. Repeat browning with remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons oil and remaining beef. Transfer to slow cooker.
2) Add onions to skillet and brown slightly, stirring, over medium-high heat. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate, bringing them to room temperature after 2 1/2 hours.
3) Using same pan, add tomatoes, their juice and wine and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits stuck to pan. Pour into cooker.
4) Make a bouquet garni of bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, garlic, cloves and allspice berries by wrapping them in cheesecloth or a coffee filter and tying bundle with kitchen twine; submerge into the stew. Cover and cook on low for 3-3 1/2 hours.
5) At three hour mark, add room-temperature onions, cover and continue to cook on low until the meat is tender, another 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Remove bouquet garni, stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently so as not to break up onions. Serve topped with feta cheese, walnuts and parsley. Yield: 6 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Mushroom Bourguignon - Elle's New England Kitchen
Coffee and Chili Braised Pot Roast - Cara's Cravings
Crock-Pot Vegetarian Chili - Spice Opolis
Sunday Suppers: Cassoulet - Stacey Snacks
Beer Stew - Food and Whine
Crock-Pot Southwestern Sausage and Hominy Stew - One Perfect Bite

53 comments:

Faith said...

Mary, that sounds amazing! I love anything that has the greek flavors in it and feta is one of my favorites.

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

We love Greek food! (In fact, we went out for it last night). And I think this would be a great addition to our weeknight meals seeing as it's no fuss. Thanks Mary!

Ginny said...

I must say I've never heard of stifado. But I have made a few greek style dishes, like pastichio (don't know if I spelled that right). This one looks good. I'm glad to see you doing some slow cooker dishes! It's time to wash mine and start using it again.

Anna A. said...

Very proud of this Greek like dish! I love stifado - my favorite being the rabbit version. Your version makes Greek grandmothers proud :)

Asteri said...

Καταπληκτικό φαγητό!
Πολύ ωραία μαγειρεμένο.
Είναι περιτό να πω ότι το λατρεύω το στιφάδο; :))
Καλημέρα

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Great flavours here and anything that cooks in my crock-pot has to be good. Take care. Diane

Priya said...

Stew sounds interesting, unfortunately we dont eat beef..

Katerina said...

Stifado is one of my favorite traditional meals. I just love the boldness of this dish. Mary your stew may not follow the true recipe to T, but it looks great and from the ingredients I can understand it tastes great as well. After all, food is all about the feelings it creates and the senses it arouses, authenticity follows and frankly to me has little importance.

Peter M said...

Mary, it's a good dish, one I like and you've tailored it well to the slow-cooker.

Susan said...

BINGO! A coffee filter can be used. Why or why have I not thought of that myself. sigh...thank you so much Mary for waking me up. Lovely recipe by the way. Learned something new today :)

What's next said...

That sounds wonderful. I think this may be dinner tomorrow night! Of course my very Texas husband will want to know why I didn't serve it over mashed potatos...
Thanks!

Kim said...

I love all the flavors in this stew. I can't wait to try this!

Martha said...

I'm not a crock pot fan but I would certainly do it in the oven. I've not had this nor made a Greek stew -- if the cold weather holds, this may definitely be on the menu at Linderhof!

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

I made a great stew for company this week . . . I agree with you, it is so easy. Even had leftovers. This looks great, and I look forward to trying your Greek version.

Fondly,
Glenda

Astra Libris said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog, and for your lovely comment! I'm so touched and honored!

I'm thrilled to try this recipe - it sounds delicious and I love any excuse to try a new, scrumptious slow cooker recipe! :-) I'm especially excited about your clever tip to use a coffee filter for the bouquet garni - thank you so much!

Jenn said...

This is one of those times I wish I could reach into my computer and take that bowl!! I love these flavors together, I bet it was wonderful!

Cara said...

Thank you so much for the link up. This stew looks fabulous - I love the addition of feta and walnuts!

Tiza said...

I'm always looking for more slow-cooker recipes. I can't wait to try this!

bellini valli said...

Cooking this Greek classic in a crock pot certainly speeds up the process,marries the flavours and makes tender pull apart meat Mary.

Cathy said...

Whatever would we do without a crock pot on a busy day? The aroma must be heavenly as it cooks.

highplainsdrifters said...

Definitive Stew ... I saw them open for REM back in '93.

I think the Google has run out of made-up words for the word verification ... got a real word this time.

Cheers!

Design Wine and Dine said...

Love it! A fun and flavorful new way to prepare beef! I'll need lots of pita bread for soaking up!

Eel said...

This recipe looks and sounds delicious and I can't wait to try it. Thank you for the link back to my Food Blog as well!! Have a great day my friend.

Faith said...

I love the Greek twist to this classic! I'm always looking for new stews this time of year and I think this sounds perfect. Hope you have a wonderful day, Mary!

pigpigscorner said...

This sounds amazing! So comforting! Love sweet and sour flavours.

claire said...

I am obsessed with Greek- almost as much as I am obsessed with my crockpot!! I eat it way too much!

Cant wait to try this!

ButterYum said...

This one's for you, Mary:

http://butteryum.blogspot.com/2011/01/feisty-sun-dried-tomato-soup.html

:)
ButterYum

PeggyR said...

I really need tog et with it and make some stew!

Jay said...

very interesting recipe...looks pretty yummy n irresistable Mary..:)
Tasty appetite

We Are Not Martha said...

I love Greek food (and feta!) and this looks so much better to me than the typical beef stew. Yum!

Sues

The Blonde Duck said...

I love no-fuss dinners!

Kim said...

The combination of spices, along with the use of feta cheese, makes this a huge temptation to me! Sounds and looks glorious Mary!

Big Dude said...

In a fan of Greek food and this looks super good.

Rita said...

I do love feta cheese, but never would have thought to add it to a stew. I can just imagine that flavour; great combination.

Carolyn™ said...

I will just have to make this yum.

teresa said...

oh my goodness, those flavor look and sound just poppin! what a gorgeous stew!

nanny said...

I love Greek food and this looks so delicious....

Ethnic Girl Fun said...

Another great recipe!
Thanks for visiting my blog!

Claudia said...

Ilove the idea of a stew with cinnamon and cloves and then topped with feta. So many melding flavors in one stew pot! And so wonderfully warming (which is how I judge all meals these days).

Kankana said...

Stew sounds perfect in this cold winter .. i have to make this soon.

From the Kitchen said...

You are edging me closer and closer to dusting off that seldom used crock pot and giving it a few assignments. I love the Greek flavors in this recipe.

Best,
Bonnie

Bridgett said...

Loving the Greek flavors in this dish. I just made a stew myself but I like your take on it as well.

Joanne said...

All you had to do was put cinnamon and beef in the same sentence and I was hooked. This looks so hearty! Traditional or not.

foodie and the chef said...

That's great that you can use a coffee filter - genius ! This looks so delicious, I love the depth of flavours you've used.

hannahyu said...

Wow your blog is brilliant. Thanks for the kind words, I'm so glad you commented me so I can browse at your beautiful food blog.

Anna said...

I've been using my slow cooker a lot lately. This is just the recipe I've been looking for! I'll let you know when I try it.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

A gorgeous winter dish. I'm intriqued by Greek flavors in a stew. I never thought of using a coffee filter for the herbs - great idea!

kitchen flavours said...

Your stew looks wonderful. I have never tried Greek cuisine before, now you have really caught my attention with this lovely stew! Thank you.

Angela said...

Looks delicious. I have never cooked with allspice berries before; they sound very exotic!

sweetpeaskitchen.com said...

This stew sounds delicious! I need to add this to the menu next week! :)

penny aka jeroxie said...

The flavours are intense. I have a crock pot :)

My Little Space said...

I think it should goes well with turkey meat too! I like how you put them together. Must be so flavourful. Thanks for sharing.
Regards, Kristy

scrambledhenfruit said...

Authentic or not, it looks wonderful. I love the Greek flavors, and also the fact that it's crock pot friendly. :)

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