I caught the tail end of a cooking show two nights ago where I saw Italian chef Lidia Bastianich ladle out some stew. The gravy looked "to die for" and I couldn't get the image and imagined taste out of my head.
I immediately started looking for her recipe on line but couldn't find it. Then when I found out it was made with veal I decided I'll make mine with beef.
I took my inspiration from this Beef and Butternut Squash Stew recipe and as usual made it my own.
- olive oil
- 2 teaspoons rosemary
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 2 teaspoons parsley
- 8-9 shallots, peeled and cut in half in half
- 1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 dried chopped prunes
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 2 large parsnips, (cut into chunks of about 1 inch)
- 1 butternut squash (cut into chunks of about 1 inch)
- 1 cup red wine
- chicken broth
- 1 small-medium roast cut into 1 inch cubes or buy stew meat (about 2 pounds give or take a little)
Heat frying pan and put in the oil and shallots and herbs. You can use fresh herbs but if you have none, dried herbs will work just fine and smell divine. Cook the shallots until they start to get transparent then add the garlic until cooked but not browned.
Next add the cubes of meat to a bowl of flour until lightly coated. Add the meat to the shallots and garlic and cook on low heat until it starts to brown. Take care not to have the meat stick to the pan but this will likely happen anyway. Once the meat is browned, add the red wine and chopped prunes. You can gently scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the flour. Cook this mixture for a few minutes at boiling point. At this point do a taste test and add more seasonings, more chopped prunes or flour/water mixture for thickening and flavour and cook together for another minutes or two.
Transfer the meat mixture to a large dutch oven or pot that you use to make stews and soups. Add just enough chicken broth to cover the meat and a little more. Let this boil, then turn the heat down to simmer. Cover and cook for an hour. Add the butternut squash, parsnips, tomato paste and turn the heat up to boiling for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Some people add the vegetables when they put the meat on to boil however this can make the vegetables too mushy before the meat has been tenderized.
Eat and enjoy with some crusty bread or toast. A perfect dish for our coolish temperatures. We have had fresh snow on the mountains for two nights in a row. We are expecting more snow and rain starting in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
|Fresh snow on the mountains for two days in a row. I'm sure the skiers are delighted. Me, not so much.
I make a lot of stews over the winter. This is the best one by far for rich tasting and savoury gravy. I'll definitely make it again.