Easy Beef Kokkinisto (Beef in Tomato Stew)

I love kokkinisto (which means ‘reddened’ in Greek). Its so easy to make, extremely tasty and it goes a long way. There is only 2 of us at home and this food always lasts us for 2 days. This stew is usually eaten with a type of pasta rice called kritharaki or hilopites (small squares of egg pasta). I had an opened bag of small macaroni pasta so I used that here. When using the kritharaki or hilopites, I usually just add it into the baking pan before stewing it in the oven, and the pasta will absorb the lovely juices and tomato sauce and cook all together into a pan of yummyness. This is a very easy one pot dish that doesn’t require too much hassle.

This version is the ‘easy’ version. I do know that some people saute the onions and brown the beef in the pot and all that jazz. I don’t really remember how this came about – other than having tried this dish in a restaurant and 2 days later attempting to replicate this dish by just adding everything I think is used to prepare this dish and baking it in the oven.

Ingredients (4 servings):

800g of beef cut into chunks. Ask your butcher for good quality stewing beef.
100ml of good extra virgin olive oil.
500g of tomato passata (tomatoes that has been pureed and sieved to remove the skins and seeds)
1 large onion, sliced.
1 clove of garlic, chopped.
4-6 dried allspice berries.
2 bay leaves.
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 cup of water, or enough to cover the meat, (and the pasta if using kritharaki or hilopites.)
Salt and pepper, to taste.

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. As in the picture, scatter the beef around the baking pan (or in my case, the Pyrex).
  3. Put the allspice and the bay leaves in a multi-use spice bag. (you can wash it and re-use it. Super useful. I bought that when I was back in Malaysia, but I am sure you can find it in any good cookware stores.) Or, you can just add it normally in the pan and pick them all out before serving. Remember how many allspice berries you added!
  4. Into the baking pan with the beef, add the olive oil, tomatoes, onions, garlic, sugar, the spices and water to cover all of that. (This is where I sometimes add the kritharaki or hilopites and add more water accordingly)
  5. Salt and pepper, to taste. And gently mix everything up together, and then bake it in the oven for 2 hours, or until the meat is soft enough to gently break when you crush it with a spoon. (Or all the liquid has been absorbed by the pasta if using.)
  6. Serve it hot, with pasta of your choice. I usually serve it with a side plate of feta cheese with a sprinkling of oregano and olive oil.
Before
After
Note: Look for subsequent updates. I will add pictures here of future Kokkinisto attempts with hilopites and kritharaki.
UPDATE!
I made Kokkinisto again (today is the 8th of March 2015. Gawsh, a year and a few months since I posted this recipe!). Here are some pictures I took when I made them with kritharaki –  a type of Pasta Rice (or Orzo as the Italians call it).
2kokkinisto01i
Olive oil glug glug glug.
2kokkinisto02i
Add the pasta rice/kritharaki and mix thoroughly.
2kokkinisto03i
Add enough water (or beef stock if you have any) to cover the mixture, and season generously!
2kokkinisto04i
All cooked and baked.
2kokkinistokritharaki
Serve!
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