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Greek Beef Stew

This recipe is adapted from a cookbook How to Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking by Michael Psilakis and appears in my cookbook Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat.

The foreword of Psilakis’ book compliments the author by saying, “you won’t find a recipe for the old familiar Greek salad” in its pages. I’m a HUGE fan of the old familiar Greek salad: tomatoes, feta, olive oil, oregano, lemon juice, olives. What’s not to like?! But since I’m not eating any feta these days –  nor am I indulging in the wonders of pastitsio or spinach pies (I just told my sweet friend Stacey that I would give my right arm for a piece of pastitsio right now) – I was pretty excited to pick up a nouveau Greek recipe.

This one is so easy, it’s a crime. Seriously! Lock me up. The only part that’s a pain is browning the meat because it must be done in batches to get a lovely dark crust. Otherwise, the simmering does all the work. You know how much I love the magic of simmering.

And – bonus! – the recipe says “The tougher the meat, the better the sauce.” so this deliciousness is economical, too. I used a beef shoulder; you can also use brisket or shanks.

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Cinnamon Beef Stew

Prep 30 min | Cook about 90 minutes | Serves 6-10

Ingredients:
2-3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
salt and black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3-5 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 sprig fresh sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 cinnamon sticks
extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. Sprinkle the beef generously with salt and pepper. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat, then add the meat in batches and sear on all sides. It’s important that you don’t crowd the pan. The meat needs air around it to achieve a crisp brown crust. With tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the browned pieces to a bowl to catch their juice. Repeat with the remaining cubes.

2. In the same pot, sauté the chopped carrot, onion, celery, and garlic for about 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the tomato paste and stir for about 1 minute.

3. Deglaze the pan. Which is just a cook’s way to say: Add the broth and vinegar, then stir with passion, scraping up all the wonderful brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring until the mixture starts to thicken.

4. Put the meat and its drippings back into the pot. Add 3 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, a healthy dose of pepper, the bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, sage, and cinnamon sticks.

5. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer with the pot only partially covered for about 90 minutes. This is not a soupy stew, but if the stew starts to dry out, add more water, about a 1/2 cup at a time. Simmer until the meat is fall-apart tender and the liquid in the pan has been reduced to gravy-like status.

6. Remove the cinnamon sticks and herb stems from the stew pot. Ladle the stew into deep bowls  — bonus points if you also add a light drizzle of olive oil.

This tastes even better on day 2 and 3 (and 4) — and it freezes/defrosts beautifully.

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73 Responses to “Greek Beef Stew”

  1. jencereghino says:

    WOW…this sounds so good! I never would've thought to put cinnamon sticks in my stew…I'm definitely making this! And, I always stir my stews and sauces with passion, but as far as aggressively salting my meat…I can't say I've done that. It does leave a sort of hostile picture in my mind…

    Thank you for the recipe!

  2. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    I like to be loving with my food… 'til I'm eating it. Then I tear into it like an animal ;-)

  3. A says:

    Holy wow. Just made this on an unscheduled, but much-needed rest day. Unbelievably good! The cinnamon and orange zest put it over the top. Getting ready for Midwest Sectionals next weekend, and I think I'll take a big batch to eat during the day. It just might save my life.

  4. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Glad you like! I hope it's your secret weapon at the Sectionals… be sure to let us know how it goes!

  5. Jess L. says:

    Lurker coming out of the woodwork to say I made this stew this weekend (and have enough leftover for weeknight dinners) and it is delicious! Thanks for posting. I ate it over mashed cauliflower with roasted garlic.

  6. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hi, Jess! Thanks for commenting. I'm glad you like it! I'm just about to update the recipe… a local friend says she had to simmer longer, so I'm going to adjust that in the directions.

    And now I'm hungry for this stew again. Maybe I'll make a batch this week ;-)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sounds sooo good! So what do I do if I don't have fresh herbs? How much dried rosemary, thyme & sage would I use?

    Thanks!

    Goldnrod

  8. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    The taste will be slightly different with the dried herbs, but should still be pretty tasty. Generally, the proportions for fresh versus dried are this:

    2 teaspoons fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon dried leaves = 1/4 teaspoon ground leaves

    I would estimate that the fresh herbs I used were about 1 tablespoon each, give or take.

    That means you'd use the following:
    1/2 tablespoon dried leaves or 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ground leaves. Put the dried spices in with the liquid; you might need to add a bit more at the end of cooking, depending on how fresh your dried herbs are.

    Be sure to post and let me know how it comes out!

  9. Addi says:

    Took that second batch to sectionals – even more delicious than the first batch. (I concur with the longer simmering time…) And, it worked like a charm – easy to scarf between events, and tons of protein for refueling.

    The competition was equally successful – 8 of us from CFOmaha qualified for regionals (I finished 11th, thanks to my secret weapon!), and everyone put out great performances and had an amazing time.

    I have a feeling this stew will be making an encore appearance in Denver come May.

  10. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Addi! That's awesome… congratulations! I'm so glad to know the beef stew delivered as your secret weapon — although I bet you trained your ass off and competed with a lotta heart, too.

    Hooray!

  11. Steph says:

    Another lurker coming out of the woodwork…
    I've been making this stew for a couple of months now and I'd have to classify it as addictive. But then yesterday Melissa posted on the Whole9 site that wine was out even for cooking if you're doing the Whole30. Do you have any suggestions for making this without the wine?
    Thanks a million for this and all your other recipes – they are fantastic!

  12. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hey, Steph! You can replace the wine with 1/2 cup beef broth instead. It won't taste quite as rich, but it should still be delicious. If you try it, post and let us know how it tastes!

  13. Anonymous says:

    This was fantastic. The cinnamon totally rocked the dish. Loved it over the mashed cauliflower. Thanks for all your great recipes

  14. Katie says:

    Made this last night to serve over roasted cauliflower and it was delicious! I'm so looking forward to leftovers for lunch. Thanks for all the excellent recipes, yo.

  15. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Thanks for letting me know you liked it, yo!

  16. [...] 16, 2011 by The Foodee Greek Beef Stew The Clothes Make The [...]

  17. [...] 11.05.17 Greek Beef Stew The Clothes Make The [...]

  18. Vitaly Sender says:

    Hey Mel,

    This recipe looks fantastic! I’m thinking of trying it this weekend. I recently received a slow cooker/pressure cooker combo and was wondering if you’ve tried this recipe using either of those? Any idea how I could adapt the recipe since you talk about simmering with the lid partially covered, etc?

    • I have ZERO science on pressure cooker cooking… but let me ask Tom Denham if he has ideas. I’ll see what I can cobble together, but you might just have to experiment. Stay tuned…

      • Mel says:

        I heard back from my pressure cooker guru… here’s what he said:

        “A pressure cooker preserves whatever moisture is in the pot, so you might not need to add any water to the pressure cooker beyond ½ cup of wine or broth and the other minor liquids. The basic guideline is to be sure you have at least ½ cup of liquid in the pressure cooker before locking on the top. I typically make that 1 cup for safe keeping, so I might add ½ cup of water (but not 3). Cubes of stew beef should be fully cooked in 10-15 minutes under high pressure. Finely chopped carrots would cook in 2 minutes in the pressure cooker and may melt entirely into the background with 15 minutes of cooking.

        I cooked a 4 pound, 2.5 inch thick chuck roast in 40 minutes last night. The guideline for beef is about 15 minutes per inch. My meat was frozen when I put it in the pot, so I went 40. Cutting meat (or anything) into small pieces reduces the cooking time. That is why I am saying your recipe might be ready in as little as 10 minutes under pressure.”

        • Vitaly Sender says:

          Firstly, thanks so much for going to the effort of getting those answers to me.

          Secondly, OMG that stew is delicious! I made it a few weeks back and looked forward to lunch SO much every day :D Will definitely be making it again. Awesome!

        • trish says:

          hi, any idea how long in the slow cooker.

  19. [...] (courtesy of Clothes Make the Girl) [...]

  20. Freya says:

    I made this yesterday on my wood stove. I had to go out, so I left it to simmer for 4 hours. Very slowly. When I got home I was greeted by a gorgeous stew. It’s so good!

    Thank you. And thank you for the other recipes too, it makes cooking lowcarb so much easier :)

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for letting me know you liked it! I’m re-testing this next week for my cookbook, then shooting the photo. Can’t wait to have that aroma floating around my house again!

  21. [...] Leftover Bodino Stifado Mi Praso (Tonight’s Dinner) This will make your house smell just like fall! And it tastes pretty [...]

  22. NicoleK says:

    Absolutely delicious!! This is a family favorite (my kids are 5 & 7) and I love how easy it is. We made it again tonight because I just happened to have all the ingredients. A perfect Friday night for us =). Please tell me this will be in your cookbook, Well Fed ;-)

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for letting me know you like it!

      Not only is it in the book, I made a few little changes, tested (and re-tested), and Dave took a gorgeous photo. It’s even better than this version on my blog. Get ready!

  23. Bebe says:

    Yummers! This over mashed cauliflower (your recipe) for dinner tonight. Took a heck of a long time to cook but worth the wait. Yum, yum, yum.

  24. CJ says:

    So I tried this for dinner tonight!! Oh my!! Yummy. I had to make a little appetizer of roasted brussel sprouts to munch on while it was cooking because I misjudged how hungry I was gonna be but as previous posts have said….. Worth the wait!! The only bad thing is my other half (the anti-thesis of paleo eating) had me sweating that I wouldn’t have any left for lunch tomorrow cause he kept going back for more!! Have no fear my friends! He is done with dinner and I have just enough for tomorrow!!

  25. Gary says:

    I now have a new favourite winter dinner, gorgeous,thank you.

    • Mel says:

      For a second, I think you were calling me gorgeous, and I was, like, WOOT!

      Then I realized it was in reference to the stew, and I thought, “Yeah, I feel that way about the stew, too.”

      Enjoy!

  26. kim says:

    Wow! This is amazing, can’t even describe the flavor sensation. Had two bowls last night, and this is from a “girl” who was vegetarian for twenty years. Of course, I knew it wouldn’t disappoint based on your “best damn chicken” recipe I tried and commented on a few weeks ago. Yours is the site that opened the “paleo”world to me (never heard of such a thing before!), via the cocoa cauliflower reciope (also delish!). I’m overcoming a lifetime of eating disorders via paleo…it feels good to eat good and FINALLY be making the right choices for my body! Thanks again!

    • Mel says:

      Congrats on making the switch to paleo… sounds like you’ve been through lots of nutrition-related changes. That can’t easy, but you must be feeling so great. YAY!

      Thanks for letting me know. I’m delighted.

  27. [...] – burgers, guacamole, tomato, sweet potato fries Sunday –  Greek beef stew, greens Monday –  crispy smashed chicken (from the Nom Nom Paleo iPad app), caprese salad [...]

  28. [...] – burgers, guacamole, tomato, sweet potato fries Sunday –  Greek beef stew, greens Monday –  crispy smashed chicken (from the Nom Nom Paleo iPad app), caprese salad [...]

  29. Dana says:

    Hokey smokes! This is one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth! Unbelievably satisfying. I made it from the Well Fed version of the recipe, and I’m going to try the red wine version ASAP.

    My husband and my son were crazy about it, too, so I know this will definitely be a regular dish in my dinner rotation.

    I think I had the pot more covered than it needed to be during the simmer, so I ended up with quite a bit more liquid than it seems I was supposed to. I added in a package of kelp noodles and let them simmer in for about ten minutes, and that worked great (my husband was delighted to get his noodle “fix”).

    The reheated leftovers are even more delicious. Comfort food at its finest.

    Just SO good!!!

    • Mel says:

      Hooray! So glad you enjoyed it. It’s one of my favorites, too. And yes, the version with the red wine is even more rich and layered in flavor.

      I like to eat the leftovers for breakfast with a fried egg on top. YUM!

  30. Jennifer says:

    I made the Well Fed version of this over the weekend. It totally exceeded my expectations. I think it might be the most delicious meal I’ve ever made. Your tips about taking the time to properly sear the meat to get that yummy crust totally paid off. Seriously, so good and so simple. I should have made a triple batch for the freezer. I sure hope you put out another cookbook SOON!

    • Mel says:

      Hooray! Glad you were happily surprised — and I agree that the searing makes it taste awesome. The only down side is that I have a hard time not eating lots of the crispy beef nuggets on their own :-)

  31. Dana says:

    This is so yum-azing that I am planning to make a triple batch (WELL FED version) for our family’s Christmas feast. I’d really like to sear the meat, cook the veg, and deglaze in my stainless steel pan. Then I’d like to put everything into my slow cooker to finish cooking.

    What modifications would you recommend re: the amount of water to use (even stove-top I only use half the recipe amount of water or it doesn’t get gravyish) and length of cooking time (on “high”)? Will I need to adjust seasoning or herb amounts?

    Thank you so much for making my life delicious! :D

    • Mel says:

      So fun! I love that Well Fed is going to be part of your holiday.

      I’ve never made this in the slow cooker, so I’m guessing here…

      Skip the water completely, I think, and just use the 1/2 cup beef broth (or 1 1/2 cups when you triple it) and balsamic vinegar. For timing, I’d *GUESS* 6-8 hours on low and 4-6 on high.

      You shouldn’t need to adjust seasoning amounts — just the liquid is usually affected by changing the cooking method.

      Is there a reason you want to use the slow cooker, in particular? If you don’t want to monitor the stove, you might want to do all the work on the stovetop, then let it braise in the oven instead of a pot. If you do the oven version, use 350F oven for 2 hours or so and partially cover the pan with foil so all the liquid doesn’t evaporate.

      • Dana says:

        Oh wow, I hadn’t thought of the oven! That’s a great idea.

        My concept for the slow cooker was to have it available at serving temperature over a period of a few hours so diners could help themselves. We won’t be doing a formal sit-down meal, but I didn’t want to compromise on deliciousness.

        I may actually make it the day before, since it is just SO good the next day. So I could *cook* it in the oven, then warm and serve it in the slow cooker. Woo!

  32. [...] Sprouts & Roasted Carrots and Parsnips (I made all of this on my days off. Score!) Lunch: Cinnamon Beef Stew (which we made and had for dinner last night. Leftovers, Holla!) Dinner: Caramelized Italian Pork [...]

  33. [...] the same all week. Beef + Spinach Egg Casserole. The recipe will be on the blog this week! Lunch: Cinnamon Beef Stew This is a total repeat and I don’t even care. It’s awesome, I made a batch this morning [...]

  34. [...] pool at 2pm for a few laps with RG.  I quickly pulled out the slow cooker and put everything in.  Cinnamon Beef Casserole for dinner (recipe from Melissa Joulwen but I modified it, because I just wanted a slow cooker meal [...]

  35. Elizabeth says:

    I am new to Paleo and recipes like this make it SO easy… served it over mashed cauliflower and so Delicious!!

  36. StefDE says:

    I am on Day 11 of my first Whole30 and brand-new to Paleo eating, and your website is a God-sent! Yesterday I made this stew for (non-Paleo) friends coming over next weekend (I will be too busy to cook then, so I will defrost it and let it simmer for a while longer), and I LOVED it! My husband, who is sort of sceptical about this way of eating loved it, too, and was quite impressed.

    Thank you so much for your wonderful recepies and your lively and encouraging website! :-)

    • Mel says:

      Congratulations on Whole30-ing! Nice job planning ahead, too… genius! I’m glad you and your husband like the stew. Hope you have a great dinner party!

  37. Jeweliana says:

    I’m on day 21 of my first whole 30. This sort of diet is pretty new to me, but I’m loving it & feeling incredibly vibrant. Husband’s not so sure, but he’s doing really well too, as long as you don’t ask him. He does freely say that he loves what we’re eating — he just still misses other things.

    This website has been an amazing help in this effort. I’m a very accomplished cook, but really needed the help of a true dino-chow pro like you, Mel, to wrap my cooking mojo around this way of eating.

    I made this stew with almost 6 pounds of chuck roast cut for stew, froze a big portion & am schlepping the rest across a few states to my in-laws, where I will dazzle their carb-glazed noggins with this & some cauliflower mash.

    When the stew was cooling, I lightly cooked up a bunch of baby carrots, green beans, & sugar snap peas, & then added them in order to up the veg quotient but have them stay green (in the case of the beans & snaps) and not get mushy in the stewing. A bit labor intensive but worth it — the veg takes on all those delectable flavors as well.

    Thanks Mel!

    • Mel says:

      Congratulations on making the switch to paleo — I’m so glad you’re finding my recipes helpful! It can be a rocky transition, but it’s so worth it. I understand your husband’s perspective — even after almost 5 years, I still miss certain foods… and I eat them every once in a while :-)

      I LOVE the idea of adding additional veggies before serving — such a great mod to the recipe.

      Safe travels — happy cooking!

  38. Alison M-O says:

    Hey Mel,
    Found your website, can’t even remember what I was searching for when I got lost in your fab recipes!
    I “wing” most recipes, using the stated ingredients as a guideline. I had 4# of stew meat, so I just used “lots” of the ingredients. This was so tasty!!!!
    Nephew joined us for dinner and said “if you hadn’t told me this was the first time you were making this, I’d of thought this was one of your favorites”. It is now. Can’t wait for leftovers after it’s had time to meld the flavors!
    Served it with crushed cauliflower, with an insane amount of roasted garlic and coconut milk, a modification of your mash recipe. He even like that, and he usually would pass on the cauliflower :)
    Thanks for injecting fun into your recipes and honesty. Very much appreciated. Starting the Paleo journey and bringing the love of my life along for the ride!
    Thanks again, can’t wait to download your cookbook.

    • Mel says:

      I love that you made this recipe your own — that’s the most fun part of cooking, right?! And I’m doubly glad that y’all liked it.

      Thank you for the sweet words about my recipes, and congratulations to you for making the switch to paleo! Keep me posted on how you’re doing!

  39. […] article protein propaganda recipe greek beef stew […]

  40. Wow! I made this tonight and it is awesome! So tender and flavorful. I also wanted to say that your cookbook is a gem. I just finished day 19 of the whole30 and thanks to your recipes things haven’t gotten boring!!

  41. Karen Rawlings-Anderso says:

    I made the version from Well Fed as part of my Sunday cook off to prepare for the week ahead. This is delicious! Being in the middle of a cold , wet, UK autumn this dish was so welcome. Nothing better than a hearty stew with a big pile of root mash! Thanks ( and whole 30 approved if you don’t use wine!)

  42. Terrie says:

    Have you ever tried this recipe using pork?

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t, but I suspect it would taste pretty great. Depending on the cut you use, you might need to simmer it a bit longer. I think shoulder might take a little more time — maybe 90-120 minutes.

  43. Terrie says:

    Have you ever tried ths in crockpot? If so, would you have to decrase liquids?

  44. Rebecca says:

    i’m wonder how different/bad this would taste if omitting the tomato paste for AIP??

  45. Sandra says:

    I’m planning on making this tomorrow for supper, but I don’t see the ingredient list for the orange gremolata?

    I have Well Fed 2, and am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Well Fed. (I ordered them both before Christmas, but Well Fed was sold out.) I’ve made several recipes already, and they’ve all been really yummy! Thanks for all of your hard work and devotion to good healthy food!

    • Mel says:

      Sorry about that! The recipe for the orange gremolata is in the Well Fed cookbook version… I didn’t include it here ’cause I’m lazy :-)

      I’m really glad you’re enjoying my recipes. Happy cooking to you!

  46. Sandra says:

    Also, is it possible to use cinnamon powder instead of sticks?

  47. Megan says:

    DELICIOUS. Made this last night with your cauliflower and chive puree. Husband said it was, and I quote, “like something you’d get at a great restaurant.” Can’t wait to make it again. Another satisfied (and Well Fed) customer.

  48. […] so so tasty and I loves it. It comes from my fav paleo book Well Fed and you can find the recipe on Melissas blog The Clothes Make The Girl. Here’s my pictures from the process. See, NOM! If you follow me on instagram you will have […]

  49. Just searched for this on line to forward to a friend – made it tonight out of your cookbook (which I got out of the library to test it out – um, yeah, I’m buying all of ‘em!). This stew is DELICIOUS. I love love love the flavors. It was super quick to put together (even quicker b/c I had a package of Trader Joe’s mirepoix in the fridge – onion/celery/carrot pre-chopped – shazam!) and made the kitchen smell heavenly as it cooked down. I used my own beef bone broth. There are leftovers and I’m already thinking that I’m having this for breakfast tomorrow!

    • Mel says:

      I’m really glad you liked it! And yes, it really does smell good, doesn’t it?

      I LOVE eating the leftovers for breakfast with extra veggies. An egg on top is pretty good, too!

  50. phyllis lorenz says:

    My friend is making this tomorrow and I offered to bring a salad. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  51. Shannon says:

    can’t.stop.eating…so.good. this really makes about two servings… :)

  52. Alex says:

    This may be the best thing that I have put in my mouth. Didn’t have cinnamon sticks, but I put in a teaspoon on cinnamon instead and it worked out great. But seriously, the gremolata makes it that much more awesome, even when I substituted fresh dill when I didn’t have parsley.

    • Mel says:

      I’m so glad you liked it! And you’re right: the gremolata is like magic. I always feel too lazy to make it, but I’m always glad when I do suck it up and do the chopping :-)

  53. Rebecca says:

    We made this last night, and my husband was speechless. That NEVER happens. We used some venison we already had in the freezer, and did it in our Ninja cooker on the stovetop setting. Had to simmer a little longer because venison. but SO DELICIOUS. We will definitely be doing this again. And yes on that gremolata. DELICOIUS. Absolutely will be making this again, and absolutely sold on your recipes just by this one :)

  54. […] salad, tomato & basil salad, veggies with cashew “chumus” dip. Banana #2. Left-over cinnamon beef stew and cauliflower […]

  55. Casey says:

    So Im doing my first Whole30 and am having trouble finding grass fed beef- however, I was able to find lamb stew meat that was pastured. So I made this with the lamb (browned in coconut oil) and used Imagine Brand chicken broth in place of the beef broth (can’t find a conjant beef broth). Let me just say that this recipe with the lamb and chicken broth is phenomenal! My house smelled great too! My husband loved it (big deal) and I will he making again and again. Thank you for this!!!

  56. Jen says:

    I’m going to sub 1T tamarind paste for the tomato paste to make it AIP friendly. I love both your cookbooks btw, your burger and hot plate formulas have saved my sanity and budget.

  57. Kristin says:

    This is hands down the best beef stew recipe I’ve made. My only subs were that I used organic veggie stock instead of beef -my local organic brand had honey in the beef stock and I’m in the midst of a Whole30, so veggie it was- and I added a bunch of chopped of Swiss Chard from my CSA which I had to use up. It was fantastic- the broth has a great flavor and consistency and the beef was tender. Also- picky-eater boyfriend approved! We both ate the leftovers for lunch again today :)

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