Stifado is a favourite Greek family casserole, particularly in winter. Spiced with cumin, cloves and cinnamon, this dish is full of character. Although it’s traditionally made with wild rabbit, you can also use chicken or pork. There's a recipe in Crete which uses snails! The most important ingredient in a good stifado is the onions. It needs a large quantity to produce the characteristic rich, sweet sauce. Stifado can be made ahead and it tastes even better reheated.
- 1 kg small pickling onions, peeled
- 1 medium rabbit, cut into 8 pieces
- flour, for dusting
- 180 ml (¾ cup) olive oil
- 125 ml (½ cup) red wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 6 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded & diced
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1½ tbsp ground cumin
- 8 cloves
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 orange, rind pared in large strips
- 2 tbsp tomato paste, diluted with 125 ml (½ cup) water
- 250 ml (1 cup) red wine
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
- 500 ml (2 cups) beef stock
- sea salt
- 1 handful chopped parsley
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Blanch the onions in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and set aside. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Rinse the rabbit pieces and dry. Lightly dust with flour. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan and lightly brown the meat on all sides, drain then place in an earthenware baking casserole dish.
Add the onions to the sauté pan and cook for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer to the casserole dish. Drain the oil from the pan and add the vinegar. Boil for 1 minute, scraping up the browned bits from the base and sides with a wooden spoon.
Add the garlic, tomato, honey, spices, bay leaves and orange rind and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste, red wine and remaining olive oil. Season well. Pour over the rabbit, cover tightly and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC and add the chicken and beef stock and bake for 1½ hours. If the cooking liquid reduces to less than 2 cups, add more stock.
Remove from the oven, adjust the seasoning, sprinkle the chopped parsley over the top and serve.