The Best Beef & Butternut Squash Stew

It’s STILL raining.  Which means that even though its the middle of August, I am in the mood for something warm and comforting to eat.

Behold: Beef Stew’s classy aunt, Beef & Butternut Squash Stew.  If I were going to give her a people name, it would probably be Genevieve, “Aunt Gen” for short.  Aunt Gen loves hiking and yoga, craft beer, shopping local, football season and wearing leggings as pants.

I’m not sure where I’m going with all of that, except to say that this recipe is hands-down my all-time favorite thing to eat for dinner, pretty much ever.  It’s hearty enough to fill my husband’s bottomless stomach, and flavorful enough for me to forget I’m eating something that is as simple to make as beef stew.  The flavors of the sun-dried tomato with the thyme and rosemary just wrap around the squash and embrace it in a warm, sweet, savory, hug.

Anyyyyyyway.  To say this recipe is simple is an understatement.  And, if you go the extra mile of laziness to buy pre-cut squash, this will take you all of 15 minutes to throw in a pot, and your family will wonder at your grace and skill in the kitchen (LOL!).

My mother forwarded me this recipe from Giada De Laurentis.  I changed up a few things, most notably exchanging marsala wine for table wine.  I don’t know why you would ever cook with marsala wine when you have the option to open a fresh bottle and drink everything you don’t use.  That’s just me though.

Ingredients:

  • 1Lb Stew Meat (I like Simple Truth Kroger Brand- grass fed, more tender!)
  • 1 Butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces (or roughly 4 cups pre-chopped squash)
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 White Onion, chopped
  • 2 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 3 Tbs Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Chopped (I buy the bag kind and use the entire bag)
  • 1 T rosemary, chopped
  • 1 T fresh Thyme, chopped (if you use dried, use about 1/2 as much)
  • 4 Cups Low Sodium Beef Broth
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Chopped Parsley for Garnish

First thing’s first, pour 2 T of olive oil in a dutch oven on medium heat and brown the onion, mushrooms and garlic for about 4 minutes, until tender.  While the vegetables are cooking, combine the flour and beef cubes in a separate bowl and mix with a spoon until the cubes are thoroughly coated.

Transfer your vegetables onto a plate and pour the flour-coated cubes in the dutch oven, stirring frequently.  When meat is browned on all sides, return the vegetables to the pot and add the wine.  Gently scrape the bottom of the pot as the wine cooks, and this will release all of the brown bits (flavor, y’all) into your soup.  Once the wine has reduced to half, add the butternut squash, sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, thyme and beef broth, stirring well to combine.  The beef broth should cover the squash with about a half inch to spare, so go ahead and add a little more than the recipe calls for in order to make that happen.

Let me just add a PSA about cutting butternut squash.  It is THE WORST.  Those suckers are rock solid!  Your best bet is to peel it with a vegetable peeler first, then halve it, scoop out the seeds, and chop it roughly into one inch squares.  The first time I ever tried to cut one up, I did not have the good sense to use a peeler, and almost ruined my chef’s knife trying to cut the outer shell off the meat.  That’s why I always pick up a container of pre-cut squash from the veggie section at Kroger- it’s a lifesaver!  If you choose to buy whole and cut your own, invest in a knife sharpener.   I use this cheap, $5 one from Ikea.

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Once you’ve added the rest of the ingredients, bring the stew to a boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer.  Before you cover the pot to let it sit, add your salt and pepper.  I usually add a couple of big pinches of sea salt since I use low sodium broth.  If you’re using full sodium broth, you might not need much salt at all.  1/2 a teaspoon of pepper is a good place to start- just keep tasting periodically until you get the flavor you’re looking for.  Salt will make a HUGE difference in this soup, so don’t under-salt.

It’s best to let this soup sit for 30 minutes to an hour if you have that much time.  We can almost never wait more than 30 minutes and habitually burn our mouths shoveling piping hot squash into our mouths.

Serve with a big chunk of bread (for sopping!) and some chopped parsley (for color!).

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My husband LOVES this soup.  There are never any leftovers 🙂

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How did this turn out for you?  Anything you would change or add?

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Lawyer, writer, food lover. Welcome to the right side of my brain!

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