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Tender and juicy with the aromas and blends of cinnamon, clove and fresh tomatoes! A delicious and relatively easy recipe, perfect for a Sunday family dinner, Greek Style Beef Stew in a tomato sauce will be a new favorite once you try it.

What is Moshari Kokkinisto (Greek beef stew)?

‘Kokkinisto’ translates as ‘reddened’ and is a way of cooking, where the meat is first browned and sealed, to remain juicy and then added to a tomato-based sauce, along with aromatic spices and herbs.

The stew itself is a simple one with mostly tomatoes and onions as the base. This makes it an easy recipe to create but the combination of spices and red wine means gives amazing flavor!

How to make Greek style beef stew the traditional way

Greek beef stew is typically cooked at a relatively low temperature -simmered, not boiled- allowing flavors to mingle.

Don’t skip the step where you brown the meat as this is very important to enhance the flavor and the meat falls apart when you eat it.

Ingredients for “Moshari Kokkinisto” (Greek Style Beef Stew)

Pasta: My favorite pasta for this recipe is bucatini spaghetti, but you can use just plain spaghetti if that’s all you find in the store.

Beef: For juicier results, the key is to pick the right kind of meat. For a Greek beef stew, you need to choose large cuts of meat from either the front shoulder or the rear end of beef, which, when cooked for a long time, become fork tender.

Stew: The heart of the stew is made with red onions, tomatoes, and garlic with some tomato paste and water. A little sugar offsets the bitterness of the tomatoes. Olive oil is left over from browning the meat so will have extra flavor.

Red wine: Use your favorite red wine for cooking or what you have around the house.

Spices: I love a cinnamon stick and one or two cloves in the mixture. You can use ground cloves if that’s what you have but I prefer the whole clove.

Cheese: Don’t forget some grated kefalotyri cheese to serve on top of the dish once you have finished cooking it.

Key Preparation Tips

Prepare the beef: To prepare the reddened Greek beef stew, begin by cutting the beef into chunks. The beef should be washed and dried thoroughly before being properly browned.

Try not to fill the pan too full. Browning the beef is crucial for a Greek beef stew, as it helps keep the meat juicy and soft.

Prepare the sauce: For the sauce caramelise the onions and garlic, deglaze with the red wine and let it evaporate. Then add the tomatoes, the paste, spices, sugar and season.

Then the sautéed beef comes in. Cook on medium low until meat is fork tender and sauce thickens.

Tip: If the sauce isn’t thick enough after cooking the meat, remove it with a slotted spoon and simmer it alone until it thickens. If the sauce gets too thick before the meat is done, add some warm water.

Prepare the pasta: When ready, cook the pasta in a separate pan. Drain and add to the big pot along with the sauce and meat. Stir with a wooden spoon.

Serve the Greek beef stew with a light drizzle of olive oil, some shredded cheese, and a glass of red wine.

Making ahead of time and storing

It is best to make the meal on the day you plan to serve it so the meat doesn’t absorb too much of the liquids.

Leftovers will store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and can be reheated on the stove in a saucepan to serve.

You can also freeze the leftovers for up to 3 months. Allow the stew to cool then add to freezer-safe containers and freeze. Defrost overnight before reheating.

Serving suggestions

I usually serve “moshari kokkinisto” with spaghetti, but there’s no reason you can’t swap this to penne or even something like orzo pasta.

Mashed potatoes or rice also work as a serving option and you can even make fries to go with it. Add some greens such as green beans or broccoli as well.

Description Tender and juicy Moshari kokkinisto with the aromas and blends of cinnamon, clove and fresh tomatoes! A delicious and easy recipe for Greek beef stew, perfect for a Sunday family dinner!


  • 1 kg of quality stewing beef (35 ounces)

  • 2 small red onions, chopped

  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

  • 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

  • 1 tsp tomato paste, dissolved into a teacup of water

  • 100ml olive oil (2/5 of a cup)

  • a glass of red wine

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1–2 whole cloves, or a pinch grounded

  • a pinch of sugar

  • 400g bucatini spaghetti or plain spaghetti if you can’t find it (14 ounces)

  • salt and freshly ground pepper

  • grated cheese (kefalotyri) to serve


  1. To prepare the reddened Greek beef stew, start by cutting the beef into pieces, approx. 100g/ 3.5 ounces each one. Wash thoroughly the beef and wipe with some paper towel. It is important to dry the meat well, in order to be nicely browned.

  2. Heat a large, deep pot to high heat. After the pan is heated, pour in the oil along with the beef. Brown the pieces of beef on one side, without stirring and then brown them on the other side. Try not to overcrowd the bottom of the pan. Browning the beef is very important, when cooking a Greek beef stew, as it helps the meat remain juicy and tender.

  3. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pieces of meat from the pot and place them on a plate.

  4. To prepare the sauce for the Greek beef stew, add into the pot the chopped onions and turn the heat down. Sauté for 3 minutes, until softened. Stir in the garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Pour in the red wine, turn the heat up and cook for 2 minutes, until it evaporates. Add the chopped tomatoes, the tomato paste (dissolved in a teacup of warm water), the cinnamon stick, the cloves, a pinch of sugar and salt and pepper.

  5. As soon as the sauce comes to the boil, add the beef and enough hot water to cover the 2/3 of the meat. When the sauce starts to bubble a lot, turn the heat down and half-cover with the lid (the sauce still has to bubble a little bit). Cook to medium-low heat, for about 1 1/2 hour, until the meat is tender and the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.

  6. If the meat is tender and cooked, but the sauce is not thick enough, remove the pieces of meat with a slotted spoon and boil the sauce alone to high heat, until it thickens. On the other hand, if the sauce becomes thick, before the meat is done, then add some warm water.

  7. When done, boil the spaghetti into another pot, according to package instructions; drain and place in the pot, along with the sauce and the meat. Stir with a wooden spoon.

  8. Serve the Greek beef stew with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle some grated cheese and enjoy over a glass of red wine.


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