While I was eating my squash chili mole I was thinking about what else I could use squash in and I eventually arrived at a beef stew. I had recently made a Japanese style beef stew (nikujaga) using pumpkin so I wanted something a little bit different. I was thinking that an Italian style beef stew would be nice. The first thing I did of course was search the web for recipes and came across this one for a beef and butternut squash stew that sounded like a nice place to start. I felt that an Italian style beef stew would have to contain more tomatoes but I wanted there to be more of a broth than a sauce so I used diced tomatoes with red wine and beef broth to form the base of the stew. To add some more flavour I added some pancetta and browned the beef and sauteed the onions in the pancetta grease instead of olive oil. I like to save the rinds from parmigiano reggiano to throw into sauces to add flavour while simmering and I thought it would work in a broth as well. I wanted to braise the beef until it was nice and tender and since I did not want my squash to be mush I held off on adding it until the meat was almost fully cooked. The Italian style beef stew was a great success! The beef was fall apart in your mouth tender and the squash was nice and al dente; cooked and tender but still having a firm texture. The broth was super flavourful and I did not let any of it go to waste by sopping it up with some cheesy garlic bread.
2 ounces pancetta (diced)
1 pound beef (cut into 1 inch cubes)
1 onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)
1 tablespoon rosemary (chopped)
1 tablespoon thyme (chopped)
1 cup Italian red wine
3 cups beef broth
1 splash balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (chopped)
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
* parmigiano reggiano rind (optional)
1 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes)
* parsley (chopped)
1. Cook the pancetta in a large pan on medium heat.
2. Add the beef and brown on all sides in the grease from the pancetta and set aside.
3. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
4. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
5. Add the wine and deglaze the pan.
6. Add the beef, broth, balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, diced tomatoes, parmigiano reggiano rind, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
7. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the beef is nice and tender, about 1-2 hours.
8. Add the squash and simmer until it is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Slow Cooker: Implement step 1, optionally implement steps 2-5, place everything except the parsley in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-10 hours or high for 2-4 hours before adding the parsley.
Nikujaga (Japanese Beef Stew)
Squash Chili Mole
Beef and Barley Stew
Kare (Japanese Curry)
Steak and Guinness Pie
Pumpkin and Chicken Tagine