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Kokkinisto: Greek Red Sauce for Beef, Pork, or Chicken

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Beef kokkinisto

Beef kokkinisto

Photo © Jim Stanfield

In Greek: κοκκινιστό, pronounced koh-kee-nee-STOH

Add any kind of meat, burgers, or meatballs to this sauce except lamb (see Recipe for Lamb Kokkinisto); beef works particularly well. The cut doesn't have to be expensive - the cooking time and sauce ingredients will help tenderize even the toughest cuts.

This recipe is for 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of meat.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes


  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 1 medium-large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups of chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned) or concentrated tomato juice
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of dry red wine
  • 2-3 bay leaves


Use beef, pork, chicken, or game, cut into serving-sized pieces (larger than bite-sized), or meatballs.

In a stew pot, sauté the onion in 2-3 tablespoons of the oil until translucent. Add remaining oil and bring to heat, and add the meat, browning on all sides. Add the wine and stir to bring down the temperature in the pot. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper, bay leaves, and tomato paste and stir until well blended. Lower heat and simmer partially covered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is tender. Add a little more water if the sauce begins to dry.

Remove bay leaves and serve with rice or pasta, and choice of salads or sides.

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