Beef and Pumpkin Stew

This is one of those sneaky recipes that doesn’t explicitly state cooktime with servings, so when I went to make it for dinner one night, I didn’t realize it needed 8 hours in the slow cooker! If you have the time and see this message, go for it, but I just winged it in my oven in about 1-1/2 hours. Via William Sonoma. [FYI: I halved this recipe completely– as written, it serves 6.]

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  • 3 lb beef bottom round, cut into 1/3 inch chunks
    • Since I was only feeding 2, I halved the recipe and just used 1-1/2 lbs stew beef from Whole Foods.
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/4-1/2 tsp dried thyme)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 carrots, cut into 3/4 inch chunks
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/3 cup beef or chicken broth
  • 1 lb baking pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4 in chunks
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  1. Season the beef well with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy frying pan, warm 1 tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the beef and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. [If, like me, you’re not using a slow cooker, I would do this whole recipe in a dutch oven that you can move into your oven at a later step. At this point, also heat your oven to 350 F.]
  2. Pour off most of the fat from the pan and return to medium-high heat. Add the onion, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves and saute until the onion begins to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cinnamon, and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the wine and the 2 tbsp vinegar, and stir to scrape up any browned bits on the pan bottom.
  3. Transfer the contents of the pan to a slow cooker [or keep in dutch oven, depending on your method] and stir in the carrots, tomatoes, and broth. Add the beef, cover, and cook on low setting for 5 hours. [Or cook in oven for about 45 minutes.]
  4. Scatter the pumpkin over the top of the beef, rec-over, and continue to cook for 3 hours. [Or the same in dutch oven, but then cook in oven for another 30-45 minutes.] The beef and pumpkin should be very tender [in either method].
  5. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves. Let the stew stand 5 minutes, then skim the fat from the cooking liquid.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together the 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, and several grindings of pepper. Stir in the green onions and mint. Spoon over the stew, and serve. [This is actually a really lovely addition to this recipe, so this is a garnish I recommend if you have the ingredients already.]
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