Spicy Beef and Butternut Squash Stew

So, this slow cooker fad.

I think I get it now.

For a very long time, I held out on using one, favoring instead my trusty Le Creuset dutch oven.  To be fair, if a person has the good fortune to be the owner of a Le Creuset, then that person should be wise enough use it. Frequently.

But there is also a time and a place for an appliance that affords a person the luxury of not needing to stir, and adjust and babysit a dutch oven, and for that a slow cooker is mighty handy.

I’ll stop referring to myself as “a person” now, promise.

Since it is officially (or unofficially, whichever) slow-cooked meat season, I am fully on board with the slow cooker fad.

Remember that $11 meat that I bought at the store over the weekend? Well, I knew that sucker was destined for slow cooked glory.

You know what’s fascinating?

Connective tissue.

The way it just completely breaks down after slowly braising (because we all realize that’s what happens in a slow cooker, right?) for hours, allowing the meat to fall apart at the slightest provocation from a fork or even a spoon.

I’m sorry for that sentence if you’re squeamish and don’t enjoy analyzing the molecular structure of your food.

Spicy Beef and Butternut Squash Stew
serves 5-6

1 – 1.5 lbs lean stew meat (I used 90/10)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
3/4 lbs butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp chipotles in adobo, chopped or pureed
1/2 tsp adobo seasoning (I used Goya)
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups low sodium beef broth + 1/4 cup
1/3 cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp cornstarch+2 Tbsp water
sour cream, to garnish (optional)

1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
2. Sprinkle flour onto beef and toss to coat. Place meat in skillet in a single layer (working in batches if necessary) and brown, about 3 minutes per side.
3. Remove meat from skillet and add onions. Saute for 2-3 minutes and add 1/4 cup beef broth. Use a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Remove from heat.
4. Place meat, onions (with broth used to deglaze pan), squash, chipotles and seasoning in a slow cooker.  Add enough broth to cover meat.
5. Set slow cooker to high, cover and cook for 5 hours.
6. With about 20 minutes of cooking left, combine cornstarch in water in a small bowl, whisking until a smooth slurry has formed.
7. Add slurry and peas to the slow cooker, cover and allow broth to thicken and peas to warm through.
8. Serve with a dollop of sour cream if desired.

See? The meat completely falls apart, no knife necessary.

And it just occurred to me that this meal is sort of Halloween-y.  You know, color wise.

Which reminds me, I owe you a picture of my Halloween costume (ok, I don’t really owe you a picture since I never promised one, but it’s worth sharing).

You guys remember how I’m slightly obsessed with Honey Boo Boo, right?

Well, after a discussion with some of my coworkers I decided that I would dress as her…dressed as a bee.

….get it?

Honey BEE BEE?

In case you were wondering, my sash says “A Dolla’ Makes Me Holla'”.

And yes, that is my pageant smile. And pose.

And also, I’m thinking of styling my hair like that permanently.

Anyway, you should make this stew, regardless of whether the calendar says October 31.  It’s light and hearty at the same time (1/6 of the total recipe clocks in around 250 calories) and it’ll make you wanna shout things like “Ya better redneckonize!” and “Werk it, Smoochie!”

Though, that might just be me.

19 thoughts on “Spicy Beef and Butternut Squash Stew

  1. This looks so yummy! I just may have to try this. BTW, I tried out your zucchini burgers but substituted quinoa instead of oats and used gluten free bread crumbs… so delish!

  2. Although I don’t love the idea of my food being “connective tissue” this looks so good I can deal with it. MUST MAKE!

  3. I am a bit inept when it comes to the slow cooker. I can make a pot roast but that’s about the only edible thing that’s come from it so far.

    I LOVE the costume! Not many people can carry off yellow…you are one of the lucky few.

  4. That costume is, in a word, perfection. Honey Bee Bee – just reading the name on the screen makes me laugh! 🙂 And the “dolla makes me holla” sash is a great accessory. Love this and your Halloween-appropriate slow cooker stew!

  5. Yup, we are totally on the same page this week. I made butternut squash soup! That costume is so amazing. I wish I had seen some Honey Boo Boos out this weekend…but your spin is just so clever!

  6. Ooooohmahgosh you’re adorable. I think the hair is the perfect touch for that costume!

    By the way – thanks for the recipe. I’m not a huge slow-cooked beef fan (despite my love for the crock pot), though my husband just can’t get enough of the stuff.

  7. Hilarious outfit, and delicious stew! I never think of butternut squash with beef–probably because it’s ingrained in my mind to go with turkey or chicken. But this looks so good!

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