Beef Stifado

olive oil or butter
for browning meat and onions
3 pounds beef chuck or top round -- cut in 2" cubes
3 cloves garlic -- chopped
3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick -- broken in half 2" long
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups full-bodied red wine
3 pounds small white onions -- peeled

In a Dutch oven over high heat, warm oil. Add beef and brown well on all sides. Add garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon, and allspice; stir well. Dilute tomato paste in the water and add to Dutch oven with wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low, cover, and simmer gently until meat is tender (2 to 2 1/2 hours). Add water as needed to keep meat immersed in liquid at all times.
Pan juices should be very thick when meat is done. About 40 minutes before meat is done, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until golden brown on all sides (about 10 minutes). With a slotted spoon remove to paper towels to drain briefly. Add onions to Dutch oven and simmer until meat is done.


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