Beef stew in tomato sauce in variations
Persons 10

Recipe by Chef Demetrios Melemenis Messinian Gastronomy Seminars 2015


Take beef out of the refrigerator at least one hour before cooking (allow 2 hours if you will be cutting the meat into pieces) so it can reach room temperature. Meticulously pat dry meat pieces using paper towel. Leave on paper towel to dry completely. Finely chop onion, celery and carrot. Heat olive oil in a large pot for 2-3 minutes until the oil starts to simmer and reach smoke point just slightly. Add beef pieces one at a time and in batches so that they do not touch each other. Sear meat until caramelized on all sides. Turn meat every minute using a tong or spoon (do not use a fork). Once cooked and caramelized, transfer beef pieces to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Continue searing until all pieces are cooked. Wait 30 seconds between batches to allow oil temperature to rise. Once finished searing and all beef pieces are ready, lower heat to half the initial temperature and add the finely chopped vegetables (onion-carrot-celery). Sauté vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring periodically until brown. Return beef pieces to pot, increase heat and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add wine and simmer until liquid is reduced to 1/3 for about 10 minutes. Pour warm meat juice in pot. Let the stew simmer for another 20 minutes, always without a lid. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Stir well. Once sauce comes to a boil,cover the pot and place in a pre-heated oven at 160oC for 1.5 – 2 hours.

* Place the spices you will be using in a cheese cloth and add to dish 30 minutes before finishing cooking.


  • With homemade mashed potatoes
 Boil potatoes with skin on in plenty of water. Bake in oven for 5-10 minutes to dry. Peel potatoes and pass through a fine sieve or use a Thermomix. Add olive oil or butter. Alternatively, use aromatic herb butter.

  • With eggplant purée
Grill eggplants to get a smoky flavor. Peel and finely chop eggplants for a homemade effect or pass through a Thermomix for smoother texture. Add olive oil, plenty of aromatic herbs, salt and white pepper.

  • With shallot onions
Peel onions and sauté in hot olive oil with garlic. Add 1-2 tablespoons of honey and fresh rosemary. Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar of Messinia and dry white wine. Once the alcohol has evaporated, add beef stock and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and bake in a preheated oven at 1800C for about 30 minutes and until onions are glazed. 

  • With orzo
Add olive oil in a pot and sauté the orzo. Thin beef stew sauce with water and add to orzo (ratio: 1 part orzo to 3 parts thinned sauce). Cover pot with led and bake in the oven at 180oC for about 15 minutes.

  • With eggplant au gratin
Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Cut slits in each half. Fry in deep fryer for 2-3 minutes. Remove and transfer to paper towel to drain. Press eggplant flesh lightly with a teaspoon and fill with beef pieces from stew. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle on top with grated sfela cheese, bake until cheese is melted and browned, and serve.

  • With hilopites
Preparation method similar to orzo

Other variations include serving with green beans, okra, root vegetables, pilaf, and dried beans


  • 2 kg beef brisket cut into cubes
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 250 ml dry red wine
  • 800 ml beef stock
  • 800 g tomato concassé
  • salt and pepper
  • spices of your choice (bay leaves, cinnamon, allspice, etc.)