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The Art of Flavour Sunday e-magazine


Greek Stifatho Beef and Onion Stew with Orzo


  • 600g x Chuck Steak, diced around 2cm

  • Plain flour

  • Olive Oil

  • 2 x Large onions - diced

  • 4 x Garlic cloves - finely diced

  • 2 x Medium carrots - finely chopped

  • 2 x Celery sticks - diced

  • 1/2 x Cup red wine

  • 1 x Tin Italian whole tomatoes

  • 2 x Tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 x Cup best home made style chicken stock

  • 6 x Whole cloves - replacing allspice. See note

  • 1/2 x Teaspoon chilli flakes or powder

  • 3 x Tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 200g x Orzo pasta

  • 2 x Bay leaves

  • 1 x Cinnamon stick - whole

  • 1 x Teaspoon brown sugar

  • 1 x Tablespoon lemon zest

  • 1 x Cup flatleaf parsley

  • Salt is not an esssential in this recipe - there are many strong flavours, however, if you prefer a little salt, half teaspoon should work


It is important that the diced chuck steak is browned on all sides. Lightly cover the meat with the flour and in the heavy based pot brown the meat then set aside.

Next add a little more olive oil to the pot and add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery, taking care not to burn the garlic. Then cook down until fully caramelised, about 15 minutes (important for flavour) then add the tomato paste to the base of the pan and hold for 3 minutes to reduce the acid then stir well to blend with the onions.

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, cinnamon stick, sugar, bay leaves, lemon zest, red wine, chilli and oregano. Stir well then add the red wine vinegar. From our test we found the 3 x teaspoons vinegar gave good balance.

We then cooked over a very low stove top heat for two hours, until the meat was breaking up then we added the orzo and cooked for a further 20 minutes. At this point you may need to add a little more stock or water.

Important: Make sure the pot is well covered with foil under the lid. Should you prefer, cook in a low heat in the oven.

Comments: Due to the difficulty in grinding the allaspice berries for many people we have replaced with the cloves. This has worked well, the cloves giving a nice flavour statement. A recipe very much worth trying. The orzo pasta adding a lovely texture to the dish.