Beef Stew with Butternut Squash and Sweet Potatoes

I saw Giada make this on her Food Network show “Everday Italian” and thought I would give it a try.  I did not follow her recipe to the “T”, but I did make mine with the butternut squash and sweet potatoes like she did.  It is different. 

Ingredients

1 chuck roast about 1.75 lbs cut into bite size pieces or 1 package precut stew meat between 1-2 lbs
1 small to medium butternut squash
2 sweet potatoes
1 bag baby leaf spinach
1 can Northern beans
Chicken bouillon cubes or chicken broth
Beef bouillon cubes or beef broth
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Cumin
Cayenne pepper
1/4-tsp red pepper flakes
Minced garlic
1/2-cup light brown sugar (optional)
3 TBS flour
3 TBS oil
3 TBS corn starch

Take your meat and mix it with about 3 TBP flour and season it with salt and pepper. Drizzle a little oil in the bottom of a stock pot – add your meat. Put it in the pan and leave it alone.  But don’t let it burn.  Mix it til all sides get evenly browned.  You don’t want to keep stirring it.  Let it cook on it’s own.  Add your minced garlic – I used 2 teaspoons to 1.75 lbs of meat. Either prepare beef broth yourself using bouillon cubes (in another pot 3 cups of water heated with 2 beef bouillon cubes) or pour 3 cups of beef broth into the meat. Put a lid on it and bring it up to a boil then back down to Medium and let it simmer. 

Now prepare your squash and sweet potatoes.  Peel them and cut them into small cubes.  Discard the seeds to the squash. In a separate pan prepare your own chicken broth (3 cups of water heated with 2 chicken bouillon cubes) or pour 3 cups of chicken broth into the stew meat along with the squash and sweet potatoes.  You need to bring this up to a boil and then back down to a simmer. 

Season with salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper. Let the stew cook for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

I add about 2 cups of chicken broth to a pan and add almost a whole bag of baby spinach to it.  This will cook down.  Then add it to the stew, you may not want to add the broth if it will make it have too much liquid.  Stews are supposed to be thick.  To thicken it up – I take 3 TBS of corn starch and the same amount of cold water and stir til smooth and add it to the stew.

When you notice that the squash and sweet potatoes are done, you probably want to make sure the heat is not above Medium-low or else the stew may turn into mush. 

About 15-20 minutes before serving, add a can of beans and your light brown sugar to taste.  I noticed that without the sugar, the stew is a little bit tart, but a little brown sugar gives it a nice flavor. If you’re not sure if you want to add the sugar, put some stew in a bowl and sprinkle a little brown sugar on it to see if you like the taste before you add it to the whole pot.

I personally think the squash and sweet potatoes would make a delicous soup if pureed and cooked in chicken broth and seasoned with brown sugar.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this stew.  I wanted to make something different than the same old stew with carrots, potatoes, and peas.


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