Chances are, if something has butternut squash in it, Michael and I will be all over it. We love, love, love it. You know who else loves butternut squash? My dad. I made this stew for him during one of his monthly visits. I figured we'd eat dinner and I'd photograph the leftovers the next day. Wrong. So, so wrong. My dad ate two bowls of this. He never does that. Michael and I were a little bummed. We were hoping to battle it out for the leftovers. Oh well. We just took it as a great excuse to have this stew again.
The flavors are deep and rich with the slightest sweetness from the squash and Marsala wine. The first time I tasted it for seasoning, I knew it was very good. I wanted it to be great, though. To me, it was calling for a dash of cinnamon. I added some in and oh my, what a great result--a beef stew that's just as comforting as the traditional, but with a unique and delicious twist.
Beef and Butternut Squash Stew
slightly adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis, Giada's Kitchen
3 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 TBSP minced fresh rosemary
1 TBSP chopped fresh thyme
2 lbs. stew beef, cut into 2-in. cubes
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 TBSP all-purpose flour
1 c. Marsala wine
1 lb. butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 2-in. cubes
1/4 c. chopped sun-dried tomatoes
3 to 4 c. beef broth
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 TBSP fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
crusty bread, for serving
1. In a large soup pot heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and saute until the onions are tender, about 2 minutes.
2. Toss the beef cubes in salt, pepper, and flour. Turn heat up to medium-high and add the beef to the pot. Cook until the beef is browned and golden around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the Marsala wine. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir up all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
3. Add the butternut squash and sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine. Add enough broth to just cover the beef and squash. Stir in the cinnamon and bring the stew to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 1 hour.
4. Season the stew with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread alongside.