Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tuscan Beef Stew

Transport your guests to Tuscany with seasonal and flavorful ingredients—no passport required. One key ingredient in Tuscan cooking is olive oil, used to dress salads and drizzle on bread. And typical in-season ingredients include herbs, beans, mushrooms, artichokes and asparagus.

Serve up the flavors of Italy with this menu, featuring Tuscan Beef Stew and Herbed Asiago Polenta. Serve a green salad dressed in a light vinaigrette as they do in Italy, with or after the main course. Highlight the Tuscan feel by serving the food on brightly hued platters and decorating the table with potted herbs. Experience a delicious meal you, and they, will never forget.              


1 tablespoon McCormick® Mixed Pickling Spice
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch cubes
4 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Collection Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Collection Rosemary, Crushed
1 teaspoon salt
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup dry red wine or Kitchen Basics® Beef Stock
1 tablespoon flour
8 slices day-old Italian bread, toasted


1. Place the pickling spice in the center of piece of cheesecloth or coffee filter. Tie tightly with long piece of string.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large deep skillet or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add beef in batches; cook until browned on all sides. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil as needed. Return beef to skillet. Add carrots, onion, garlic powder, rosemary and salt. Stir in tomatoes and wine. Add pickling spice bundle; cover.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beef is tender. Remove pickling spice bundle.
4. To thicken stew, mix flour with 1 tablespoon water in small bowl until smooth. Stir in several tablespoons of the hot liquid from stew, then stir flour mixture into stew. Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until stew thickens slightly. To serve, place 1 bread slice in the bottom of each bowl. Spoon stew over bread.


Slow Cooker Directions: Prepare pickling spice bundle and beef as directed in Steps 1 and 2. Transfer ingredients to slow cooker; cover. Cook 8 hours on LOW or 4 hours on HIGH. Remove pickling spice bundle. Thicken and serve as directed in Step 4.


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