Beef and Butternut Squash Stew with Moroccan Spices

Rumor has it that today and tomorrow are going to be the two coldest days of the year.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but it seems to be true here – it is 11 degrees this morning (that’s -12 to all my Canadian/European readers) here in Podunk and is supposed to drop to a whopping 1 degree (-18) tonight.

Brrrr.

So, here’s a bold little stew to help keep you warm.  I used butternut squash in it because it’s what I had on hand, but you could use any root vegetable, tuber or winter squash you have lying around.  However, the sweetness of the butternut squash was really complimented by the spices; the raisins were a nice touch, too.  This also reheats very well.

And have a lovely Wednesday, y’all.

Beef and Butternut Squash Stew with Moroccan Spices

Beef and Butternut Squash Stew with Moroccan Spices

serves 6

2 pounds round roast, cut into 1″ cubes
2 tablespoons beef tallow
4 cups beef stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 large onion coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 pound butternut squash peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup golden raisins

Melt the beef tallow or other fat in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add the meat and sear, stirring frequently, until the cubes are browned on all sides. Season with the salt and pepper.

Lower the heat to medium; add the onion and cook until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the paprika, cumin and cinnamon to the meat/onion mixture in the Dutch oven. Cook, stirring frequently, for a minute or two until the mixture becomes very fragrant.

Stir the beef stock into the mixture in the Dutch oven. Cover and reduce the heat to low.

Simmer, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat becomes fork tender. Uncover and increase the heat to medium; add the butternut squash and raisins and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork and the liquid has reduced, giving the dish a stew-like consistency.

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Posted in participation with Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday

Roast Beef and Butternut Squash Hash

Well, happy Monday, everyone!  I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  We did, even if poor Beloved spent it recovering from a nasty case of salmonella he picked up while in Detroit on business last week.

Lesson learned:  Always order your bunless burger cooked all the way through.  Or just get a steak – commercial ground beef is an iffy proposition anyway.  Just sayin’.

At any rate, the weekend was mostly taken up with trying to help keep Beloved comfortable, grocery shopping, watching movies, working on my cookbook and actually cooking (well, and watching the Super Bowl, of course…or in my case, watching the commercials).  Sunday morning saw me with 1) a desire to cook something a little “different” for our traditional brunch, 2) leftover roast beef from earlier in the week and 3) an excess of butternut squash from Saturday’s stew (which was marvelous; if I don’t post it Wednesday I will next week).  What do you do in such a case?

Make hash, of course!

When I was growing up, hash – as my mother, Queen of Quick and Easy, made it – was ground beef, seasoned with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder, cooked up with tater tots and topped with ketchup.  I never had it any other way, even in my adult years, and it’s what I cooked for my family when I was younger.  And while the ex and Oldest Son loved it, Darling Daughter hated it.  So does The Young One, for that matter.  And Beloved, if memory serves.  I think Jolly liked it…

Anyhoo, that was the “hash” from my childhood; if Mom was feeling ambitious, she made it with those onion-flavored tater tots you can buy.  I liked it all right, I suppose – it was better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. 😛  When I was an adult, my first exposure to hash other than the dish I’d been served as a kid was the corned beef kind that came in a can.

Yeah.  I can’t say I was any more impressed with that than I was with the tater tot dish, either.

Eventually, though, I ate the real deal – and while it’s still “peasant food”, when properly prepared it is truly delicious.  I also learned there is no one “real” way to cook it; there are variations of the dish in most Western cuisines.  It almost always consists of leftover meats, onions and cheap starches such as potatoes but since I haven’t eaten a white potato in months, I used the leftover butternut squash.

It.

Was.

WONDERFUL.

And absolutely delicious topped with an over-easy egg…or two.

Note: The squash I used hadn’t been cooked previously, so if you have some leftover squash or potatoes or what-have-you that have been cooked, you might want to add them later in the cooking process.

Roast Beef and Butternut Squash Hash

Roast Beef and Butternut Squash Hash

serves 4

2 cups leftover roast beef, minced
1 tablespoon lard
2 cups butternut squash peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
1 1/2 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
1 medium onion chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter

Melt the tablespoon of lard or other fat in a heavy, 12″ skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until it begins to soften slightly, about 2 minutes.

Add the roast beef, squash, beef stock and salt and pepper to the skillet; stir and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash is just soft enough to pierce with a fork.

Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is entirely absorbed. Raise the heat slightly; mash down with a spatula and cook until the bottom begins to crisp slightly.  Use the spatula to flip the hash – don’t worry if it doesn’t stay in one piece – remove from the heat and cover.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat until it begins to foam. Crack the eggs, one at a time, into the butter and cook until the white is set. Turn with a spatula, remove from the heat and set aside.

Divide the hash into four equal portions; plate, top with an over-easy egg and serve immediately with ketchup or hot sauce, if desired.

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Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

I am woefully low on winter squashes now, but I expected that considering how many we’ve eaten over the course of the last 4 months.  I’ve been hoarding certain varieties, but as it is we’re down to our last delicata and have resorted to purchasing spaghetti and butternut squashes at the grocery store.

Oh, well – next year, we’ll just have to buy more.  They’re keeping amazingly well in the garage, in a box covered with towels, and as long as it doesn’t drop below freezing there (it rarely does, no matter how cold it gets outside) they should keep for a little while longer…not that there’s many left to worry about.

However, this last weekend I was looking in the box and realized I had more sweet dumpling squashes than anything else, and decided I’d better start to do something with them.  I brought them inside, where I had a pound of hot Italian sausage (yup, more of that) waiting to be used, and an apple laying around.  It wasn’t much longer before we were eating this for dinner, with some steamed and buttered green beans.

Delicious and easy – now that’s what I’m talking about.

Note: This recipe says acorn squash because neither Master Cook nor Living Cookbook knows what the hell a sweet dumpling squash is.  Since sweet dumplings and acorns are similar in size, shape and nutritional content I went ahead used acorns for writing the recipe itself.  Which probably isn’t a bad idea – if you don’t hoard odd squashes in your garage the way some people do, you’ll probably have better luck finding acorn squash.

Also, if you’re watching your carbohydrate intake, this dish is a little on the carby side due to the squash, onions and apple, so it won’t go into the “low carb” category in the recipes.  But it is certainly okay to have once in awhile…when you’ve got squash, onions, apples and sausage you don’t know what to do with. 😛

Sausage Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Squash

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

serves 4

2 medium acorn squash
1 pound hot Italian sausage
1/2 medium Granny Smith apple diced
1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Halve the squashes lengthwise; scoop the seeds and strings from the centers and discard.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sausage, onion and apple and mix well. Divide into four equal portions.

Stuff the centers with the sausage mixture, creating a mound – it should look like there’s a giant meatball sitting inside the squash. Place the stuffed squash halves in a lightly buttered 13″ x 9″ x 2″ baking dish. Cover the dish with foil.

Bake for 45 minutes; uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the sausage is no longer pink in the center and the squash is tender.

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Posted in participation with Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday

Chipotle Butternut Squash Souffle

It is COLD here, and has been snowing for several days straight.  Not a lot – not enough to cancel school, much to The Young One’s disappointment – but there’s a couple of inches out there.  Yesterday we spent the days indoors, a fire in the fireplace. and the fellas played video games (Epic Mickey is, well, epic) while I made what turned out to be the best pot of chili that’s ever come out of my kitchen.  I can’t say exactly why it came out as good as it did – perhaps it was the grass-finished round tip roast we cut up into cubes, or the homemade beef stock, or that I used far fewer beans than usual, or maybe the peppers were just right this time, but it was absolutely delicious.  I’m not normally one for leftover chili (Beloved loves it, though) but I’ll eat this today for lunch with pleasure.

However, once chili was on the menu, I was at a loss for what to make with it.  Once upon a time I’d have made corn bread; in the months before we cut grains out of our diet it would have been Southwestern Spoon Bread.  Beloved and I often talk about what we’d go off of our diet for – he says he’d do it for his favorite pizza; this spoon bread tops my Hit Parade (although, after Thanksgiving I wonder if either of us would enjoy such indulgences as much as we think we would).

The last time I made chili, I was inspired by my recent success with a maple butternut squash souffle to try to spice up a similar dish alá the spoon bread and see how it would come out.  It was okay, but too dense and heavy.  After thinking about it a bit, I decided to give it another whirl.  So I cut out the cheese and egg yolk and increased the egg whites to three (we had the yolks this morning in our scrambled eggs for breakfast – yum!) and it was much, much better.  Next time, I will add a touch of shredded cheese to the top before I bake it and see if I can’t achieve perfection.

This would be a great side dish for just about any main course, not just chili.  It’s certainly not the same old, same old.

Chipotle Butternut Squash Souffle

Chipotle Butternut Squash Souffle

serves 6

1 large butternut squash, about 2 pounds

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 small onion, diced

chipotle pepper in adobo

1 large garlic clove, minced

1/2 roasted red bell pepper, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

3 egg whites

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Butter a 6-cup souffle dish, or a 1 1/2 quart casserole, well.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and pulp in the middle.  Place it cut side down on a shallow baking sheet that’s been lightly brushed with olive oil.  Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the squash is tender and the thickest part is easily pierced with a fork.

Alternately, if you are pressed for time, you can place the cleaned squash cut side down in a microwave safe dish with a little water and microwave for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the squash is tender and the thickest part is easily pierced with a fork.  If you have the time, though, I recommend roasting the squash as it will give the dish a superior flavor (you can roast the squash ahead of time and refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble and bake the souffle).

While the squash is roasting, remove the seeds and veins from the chipotle pepper and mince it finely (you can leave the seeds and veins in if you like things spicy); add enough of the adobo sauce to the minced pepper to make a tablespoon and set aside.

Melt the butter in a small, heavy skillet over medium low heat and cook the onion until it is tender and almost translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.  Stir in the red bell pepper, chipotle pepper and ground coriander seeds; remove from the heat and set aside.

When the squash is roasted allow to sit briefly until cool enough to handle.  Scoop the pulp into a large mixing bowl, season with the salt and pepper; add the red pepper flakes and red bell pepper mixture.  Mash together with a fork until well mixed.

In another large, clean, glass or metal mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer until stiff but not dry.  Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the squash mixture with a rubber or silicone spatula until completely incorporated.

Increase the oven temperature to 375º F.  Scrape the mixture into the buttered souffle dish or casserole, smooth the top with the spatula and sprinkle with the shredded cheese.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve immediately.

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Butternut Squash on Foodista

Delicata Squash with Apples and Chili Spices

Thanksgiving was wonderful but exhausting.  Sometimes I wonder why I spend two days cooking for one twenty minute meal.  Then I remember all the leftovers, and go, “Oh, yeah.”  Everyone can fend for themselves for a few meals.  The downside of it is that because I don’t cook for a bit after the holiday, I have no new recipes.

That being said, we are still on our winter squash kick (although we have cut back to eating them once or twice a week instead of nearly every damn meal) and I’ve got a couple of winter squash recipes that I have not posted yet.  So you get them this week.

Aren’t you thrilled?

This first one is an adaptation of a recipe I found online – it originally was slices of delicata squash sprinkled with chili powder and cumin and drizzled with maple syrup, then roasted in the oven.  I’m trying to cut back on the amount of natural sweeteners I cook with – namely honey and maple syrup – so I added sweet onion and tart Granny Smith apples, and instead of roasting it in the oven, I parboiled the squash briefly and pan-roasted it in a cast iron skillet.

I have to to tell you – it is delicious.

The first time I made this, I served it with halibut I seared on the stove and finished by roasting in the oven (the picture is from that meal); the second time was with Salmon with Green Chile Sauce – what can I say?  It’s good with fish.  It would be very good with chicken, as well.  Or pork.  Or as a brunch side dish.  It is an easy and unusual substitute for the normal side dishes of potatoes, pasta or rice.

Delicata Squash with Apples and Chili Spices

Delicata Squash with Apples and Chili Spices

serves 4

1 delicata squash (3/4 to 1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2″ dice

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 medium tart cooking apple, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2″ dice

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

In a large saucepan, bring 1 quart of water to a boil; parboil the squash cubes for 2 to 3 minutes.  Drain and drop into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  Once cool, drain again and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot, but not quite smoking.  Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the squash, apple on onion and reduce the heat slightly to medium.  Add the salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and garlic powder and cook, stirring frequently, until the squash and apples are fork tender and the onion is soft and fragrant.  Serve immediately.

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Delicata Squash With Apples and Chili Spices on Foodista