Beef Stew with Cinnamon and Tiny Onions

A small amount of ground cinnamon and a splash of vinegar add an elusive flavor to this Greek-style beef stew. It looks and tastes familiar but is just different enough to make it special.

For a lighter alternative to potatoes mashed with butter, I serve the stew with cauliflower and potatoes mashed with extra-virgin olive oil.

THE MEDITERRANEAN SLOW COOKER, © 2013 by Michele Scicolone

Beef Stew with Cinnamon and Tiny Onions

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    3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup dry red wine
    3 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    Salt and freshly ground pepper 1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
    1 large onion, chopped 1 bay leaf
    2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    24 pearl onions, trimmed, or frozen pearl onions, thawed


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    • 1

      In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Add the beef in batches, without crowding the pan. Brown the beef well on all sides, about 15 minutes per batch. With a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a large slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

    • 2

      Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the pearl onions, wine, and vinegar. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker. Add the tomato puree, bay leaf, and cinnamon and stir well.

    • 3

      Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the beef is very tender. Discard the bay leaf. Serve hot.

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