Recipe: Grandpa Kolaras’ Stifado
From Savory Spice founder, Mike Johnston: "Grandpa Kolaras, my mom’s dad, would toss a cloth ball of pickling spice into a big pot of soup he would make for us a few times every year. Stifado (pronounced 'stew-FA-dough' at our house), a Greek stew/soup, was a meal by itself and one that everyone in my family enjoyed, even my picky younger brother Rob. Of course, he’d eat around the whole boiler onions and devour the meat and sop up the tasty broth with a big hunk of bread."
- 2 lbs. chuck roast (or other stewing beef), cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- salt & pepper for seasoning
- 2 lbs. white boiler onions, skins removed*
- 3 large tomatoes, halved*
- 2 tsp. Renaissance Gardens Seasoning
- 2 tsp. tomato powder
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. Pickling Spice
- 1 muslin bag (or similar for containing Pickling Spice)
- 6 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. dehydrated minced garlic (or 4 fresh cloves, minced)
*Grandpa used V8 vegetable juice and tomato paste in his original recipe in lieu of the tomatoes, tomato powder, and Renaissance Gardens Seasonings in this ingredient list. You can follow his original recipe by replacing these ingredients with 3 cups V8 and 2 Tbsp. tomato paste. To remove boiler onion skins, trim the tops and bottoms and place in boiling water to blanch for 30 seconds. Drain, let cool, then remove skins. If you are preparing a beef broth from a concentrate, use some of the water that you blanched the boiler onions in to add another layer of onion flavor to the dish.
Season meat with salt & pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add meat and brown on all sides, 2 to 3 min. per side. Brown in batches if necessary; if the pot is too crowded the meat will steam instead of brown. Set browned meat aside.
Lower heat to medium and add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil. Add onions and saute until softened and slightly charred, 10 to 12 min., stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, place tomatoes on a baking sheet and set under the broiler for 10 to 14 min., turning over halfway through. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and place in a food processor. Add Renaissance Gardens and process until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix tomato powder and water together to form a paste; add paste to the food processor and puree with tomatoes until smooth.
Add browned meat back to the pot with the onions. Add pureed tomatoes and beef broth. Place Pickling Spice in the muslin bag and tie it closed. Add bag to the pot and stir in vinegar and garlic. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until meat is tender, 60 to 90 min., stirring occasionally. Remove bag of spice before serving.
Serve hot with Greek, Italian or French bread to sop up the tasty broth.