Want a hearty filling meal that will warm your belly and your soul? It sounds like a big promise to make, but this Beef and Butternut Squash Stew won't disappoint!
What are the health benefits of Butternut Squash?
Butternut squash has many health benefits and can be used in recipes as an alternative to potatoes. Butternut squash has fewer calories than potatoes but have comparable amounts of fiber and sodium. When cooked, their textures are similar making butternut squash a good substitution for potatoes when one is counting calories. Butternut squash also adds an "earthy" flavor to recipes that offers a nice change from typical soups and stews.
What is stew meat made from? Beef stew meat is made from cuts of round and and chuck roasts. While those cuts come from different parts of the cow, they are similar in that they both have a high amount of connective tissues (fat and tendons). Those connective tissues break down during the slow cooking process and are what gives the meat that robust "beefy" flavor.
Do I have to use frozen squash? No, you don't have to use frozen squash. Fresh squash works just as well. However, if using frozen squash, add it in at the beginning of the cook time. This will help the stew thicken as the squash breaks down. if you'd like for your squash to be more "chunky", add it with 2-3 hours left in the cook time.
Do I have to make Beef and Butternut Squash Stew in the slow cooker? Yes, you should. The slow cooking process allows the fat in the meat to break down slowly, making it juicy and tender. As the connective tissues break down, all of the flavors meld together.
Which sides pair well with Beef and Butternut Squash Stew? I like to serve my Beef and Butternut Squash Stew with a simple garden salad or fresh fruit and veggies. Some choose to serve it with their favorite type of bread (cornbread or biscuits), rice, or mashed potatoes.
Beef and Butternut Squash Stew
- 2 pounds stew meat
- 16 oz frozen cubed butternut squash
- 1 ½ cups beef broth
- 2 T tapioca pearls
- 2 oz tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon sage
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Add all ingredients to slow cooker and stir to combine
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours until beef is tender and cooked through
Add frozen squash at the beginning for softer texture. Add it with 2-3 hours left to leave it more intact.