Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tyler Florence's Ultimate Beef Stew


Our "cold" days are pretty numbered living here in Arizona. Any kind of chill in the air has us running for jackets, boots and scarves along with warm comfort food like soups and stews. Maybe it's because our winter season is so short that these meals are looked forward to and beloved. We are quite spoiled with the weather in Arizona, especially during the fall/winter/spring months. What we consider "cold" is pretty laughable by the rest of the country's standards. However I'm convinced that in order to survive our extremely hot summers our blood thins and once the temperatures dip below 65 degrees we are just not equipped anymore to take the cold. It is pretty humorous to watch all of the tourists flocking to Arizona during this time of year. Most of the "natives" are wearing winter clothes, but you can pick out all the tourists sporting t-shirts, shorts and flip flops once the thermometer hits 60. It's a heat wave, especially if you've just arrived from North Dakota, Wisconsin or any other northern state. 
Taking full advantage of the temperatures dipping last weekend, my husband was craving beef stew. Not just any old beef stew, but Tyler Florence's Ultimate Beef Stew. I have made a few beef stews over the years and all of them were an improvement over my first encounter with "Dinty Moore", which my husband introduced me too while he was in the military. Beef stew can be extremely blah or it can be a fantastic, flavorful meal. Tyler's recipe falls into the latter category.

Let me start with prefacing that this is NOT a meal that is cooked in 30 minutes. This is one recipe that requires time, but the end result is well worth the effort. This is definitely a weekend meal for us since weekdays are always busy. This is also not the cheapest of meals, especially if you use quality ingredients. However, I can justify the expense many times over by realizing that taking a family of 5 to a restaurant would be way more expensive. I followed the recipe pretty closely, but thought I would share a few pointers that I picked up while cooking this recipe. First off, the recipe calls for 2 cups of flour. This is an utter waste. The flour is used to coat your cubed stew meat and I used 3/4 of a cup at most. So start with one cup, it will be plenty. Secondly, this recipe calls for 1 bottle of red wine. It is important to use a good, well rounded bottle, something you would enjoy drinking as well. Do NOT use cooking wine, cooking wine is an abomination as far as I'm concerned and should never be used to cook with, it will ruin pretty much every dish. Also, if you don't like cooking with wine, then I would suggest finding a different recipe. There are no substitutions in this case, since the wine and acidity will help break down your meat, add flavor, depth and will overall end up making this meal extraordinary. I used a good middle of the road wine (Murphy-Goode: Liar's Dice), that I typically have on hand and it compliments this dish exquisitely.
I also used Yukon gold potatoes, rather then small new potatoes since this is what I usually have at home and it tasted great. The recipe calls for pearl onions, this is were I messed up slightly and simply forgot to grab some at the store. Instead of running back out, I decided to substitute with 1 large yellow onion, which I chopped and sauteed in 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil before adding. 
This dish calls for ground cloves and a slice of orange zest. I briefly considered leaving it out, since in all honesty it sounded strange to me, but I'm glad I decided against it and went for it. You won't be able to detect either, but they added to the overall complexity of the dish. Last, but not least, the recipe calls for thyme sprigs. I used some butcher's twine to tie them together. Brilliant idea and much easier to remove once the dish is cooked than trying to sift for thyme stems.

The smell  of this recipe while cooking was indescribable and the finished meal turned out to be a hit. Totally worth the time, effort and ingredients makes this another wonderful Tyler Florence recipe. My husband's craving for a good stew was more than satisfied and considering that all of the kids had seconds, it was definitely a crowd pleaser.  I simply served this with some Peasant bread on the side and my husband enjoyed the stew topped with a bit of horseradish. What made this dish even better was the rainy, cold weather we had while eating along with a couple of glasses of red wine. This is pretty much what a perfect Sunday should feel like in the winter.


Tyler Florence's Ultimate Beef Stew

Ingredients:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup all-purpose flour (this is a change from the original 2 cups)
2 to 3 pounds beef chuck shoulder roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 bottle good quality dry red wine 
8 fresh thyme sprigs (tied together with butcher's twine) 
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 orange, zest removed in 3 (1-inch) strips
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, diced and sauteed in 1/2 tablespoon olive oil 
1 pound white mushrooms, cut in 1/2
1/2 pound garden peas, frozen or fresh

Preparation:
Preheat a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat with the oil and butter.

While the pan is heating, arrange the flour in a large, shallow dish. Season the cubed beef with some salt and freshly ground black pepper and then toss in the flour to coat. Shake off the excess flour and add the beef chunks in a single layer to the hot pan, being careful not to over crowd the pan, you might have to work in batches. Thoroughly brown all of the cubes on all sides. Once all the meat has been browned remove it to a plate and reserve.

Add the wine to the pan and bring up to a simmer while you scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon being sure to loosen up all those tasty bits. Once the wine has gotten hot add the browned meat, thyme, smashed garlic, orange zest strips, ground cloves, freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste, bay leaves and beef stock. Bring the mixture up to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until the liquids start to thicken, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 1/2 hours.

After 2 hours add diced potatoes, sliced carrots, sauteed onions and mushrooms, along with a pinch of sugar to balance out the acid from the red wine. Turn the heat up slightly and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes more, until the vegetables and meat are tender. Add the frozen peas during the last few minutes or cooking. Season one more time with salt and pepper and remove the thyme sprigs.

Adapted from: Foodnetwork

33 comments:

  1. I think if I lived in a warm climate I'd miss the excuse to eat soup all the time and would probably adjust my thoughts on what is actually cold. That said, I'd take Arizona weather any day of the year and just turn up the A/C if I wanted soup:-)

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  2. I'm very excited to try this recipe next week. I'll pick up a chuck roast and a bottle of wine when I do my shopping. My question is this: Do you think I could make this in a slow-cooker? I don't have a dutch oven, and my largest pot isn't as large as I feel like it should be for this recipe.

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  3. This looks fantastic. I've found that I can usually trust Tyler's ultimate recipes. He's one of the few on that network that is still worthy of watching and being called a chef.

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  4. I love it... I love Tyler Florence's comfort foods, often making his Ancho Chili and Lasagnia... This would be awesome for a cold day.

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  5. Oh, how I love stew! I'm with you on the cold... it's been downright frigid. We didn't even hit 60 the other day and the kids and I were simply freezing. You can totally tell the locals down at our beach, hat, gloves, scarf, jacket and uggs, then there are the visitors in t-shirts and shorts. Some of them even went into the water without a wetsuit!
    But back to the stew, I'm cooking for my parents the next few weeks (mom had her hip replaced two days ago...), this will fit nicely into our rotation.

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  6. This stew looks delicious! Definitely comfort food.

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  7. More gorgeous photos, Susi! This looks wonderful, too. With the dreaded snow again in the forecast, I may have to put this stew on our menu~

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  8. I like Tyler Florence too--he's a nice Southern boy. In fact I made one of his "ultimate" recipes yesterday. Like you said, they are not quickies, but reliably delicious. Your beef stew looks great.

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  9. This sounds similar to one I cook in the slow cooker, just throw everything in leaving to cook all day, great for when I'm working. I just read your profile and I love your family eating together, we do the same with our young children and it is amazing what my daughter will eat and love. Thanks for visiting my blog, my daughter loved that pie!

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  10. Seeing those large chunks of meat made me smile...and made me a bit sad that I now live in Texas where it is already in the 70s and 80s (in March!) I'm still adjusting to these warmer climates. I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow. Thank you for sharing another bowl of delicious goodness!

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  11. Oh, that looks like a big warm hug in a bowl...I have a crush on Tyler Florence, please don't tell him I would be so embarrassed. Great job, gorgeous photos!

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  12. This stew looks like perfection!

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  13. That looks absolutely gorgeous and so tasty! I am a big fan of Tyler he is always whipping up great things, thanks so much for sharing!

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  14. I love how this look, one of my favorites..and you made it to the perfection!!! Yum!

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  15. The stew is looking very inviting and refreshing. It wud be an ultimate pleasure to have it with some bread... !

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  16. I have made this before, it is fantastic! Wow, that makes me want to make it tonight, lol.

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  17. Hey, I got a big hug from Tyler at a food show once...just thought I'd share that. ;)

    The stew looks lovely!

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  18. That does look like a gorgeous stew. You're right, stew takes time and patience, you want the meat to be slow-simmered so it just falls apart. Mmmm, so good!

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  19. This is something my hubby would go crazy over, me too actually. A very flavorful warming meal.

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  20. You've described my perfect Sunday!! A good day of cooking and enjoying the process. This looks delicious and beautiful photos. Lovely.

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  21. We love stews in our house. It's so easy and definitely worth the wait!

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  22. It looks so wonderful and hearty! I'd love to finish that entire bowl!

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  23. Congrats on The Top 9, Susi!!!!

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  24. Susi, this beef stew is so lovely! I think it's the prettiest picture of stew I've ever seen. Great job on it, thanks for sharing the recipe and congratulations on your top 9 spot! Well deserved.

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  25. Wow, that looks delicious, warming and colorful! Absolutely perfect for this winter!

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  26. This is a beautiful Sunday meal that is well worth all the money spent on quality ingredients. You are so right when you mention that you really need the wine in this recipe. I live in a dry county that doesn't sell liquor or beer of any kind and because of that I've tried to sub beef broth for red wine over the years. It never works out quite as well as when I use the wine. Nowadays I find that I like to stock up on both red and white wine. I've grown quite fond of the Barefoot brand because it's usually between $6-11 and it's always good.
    The beef stew looks beautiful!

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  27. Heartwarming meal! I think I could just eat bowls of this for a few days! Thanks for sharing!

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  28. I love beef stew and could eat it in any weather. :) We're having our normal chilly but changeable March weather here. The beef stew would be a perfect dinner.

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  29. You're so right that stew is not a thirty minute meal, but well worth the time it takes for all the wonderful flavours to infuse in the meat and tenderize it. I too am a big fan of Florence Tyler's recipes. His dishes always turn out so rich in flavour. No wonder they are the "ultimate"

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  30. We just spent a full week in Bavaria and became spoiled (quickly) with the wonderful red cabbage and sauerbraten. I am so excited to try these recipes since the US versions have not been so good.
    Thank you!

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  31. Congratulations! We wanted to inform you that this post has been selected as a Featured Archive Post on our site for the first two weeks of December 2012.

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