Monday, December 15, 2014

Spicy Beef & Acorn Squash Winter Stew

I’m not a huget meat eater but I’ll have the occasional burger or meatball if the mood strikes me. If you’ve been following my blog (thank you!) you’ll probably notice that most of the recipes involve veggies, chicken & fish with very little meat in between. Which means that that’s what my husband eats too. Last night I opted to throw Chris a bone & make a beef stew. Given his positive reaction I may have to make this & meat more often.

 Ingredients (recipe adapted from Bon Appetite’s Beef & Squash Chili)
  • 2 dried de arbol chiles
  • 3 cups (low-sodium chicken) beef stock (you can also use veggie or chicken stock)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 pound boneless beef chuck roast, cut into ½” pieces
  • salt & ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 medium sized carrots, peeled & cut into ½” pieces
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into ½” pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 12-oz. bottle (lager) - I used le bat because that’s what we had
  • 1 acorn squash, peeled, sliced into thin wedges, then into 1” pieces
  • juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Toppings for serving:
  • greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • chopped avocado
  • sliced red onion

Make it!
  1. Toast chiles in a dry small skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally & pressing down to help them make contact with the pan, until darkened in color and beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a bowl or liquid measuring cup & cover with 2 cups boiling water; let sit 30 minutes to soften. Drain; remove seeds and stems. Purée chiles & beef stock in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. In the meantime, once chiles have soaked 10 minutes, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high.
  4. Season beef with salt & pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, about 5 minutes.
  5. At this point, quite a bit of liquid will have accumulated; continue to cook until it has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
  6. Transfer beef to a plate.
  7. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to pot, then onion, carrots, celery & garlic; season with salt & pepper.
  8. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 6–8 minutes; onion juices will help loosen anything left on bottom of pot.
  9. Add cumin, oregano & cinnamon. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  10. Return beef to pot & add beer. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, & simmer, stirring occasionally, until almost completely reduced, about 4 minutes. 
  11. Sprinkle the flour over the meat mixture. Mix well until all the flour is incorporated.
  12. Add chile purée, season with salt & pepper, & bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer until liquid is slightly thickened and meat is tender, 20–25 minutes. 
  13. Add squash; cover & cook until tender, 10–15 minutes.
  14. Stir in lime juice.
  15. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Toss pumpkin seeds with salt on a rimmed baking sheet or in an oven-safe skillet.
  16. Bake, stirring/shaking occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.
  17. Serve stew topped with sour cream, avocado, red onion, & toasted pumpkin seeds.

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