Friday, January 17, 2014

Beef and Butternut Squash Pot Pie

I'm on a roll.

Two recipes this week that I practically made up! Well, or at least parts of them. I can't actually take a tremendous amount of credit for this one as I more or less just threw a pie crust on top of a delicious stew recipe we had last month, but still. It's progress.

This creation also was a half birthday request from my dear husband. You see, it all started with a bottle of winter ale we had in our fridge. He wanted to drink it and so worked backwards from there. What would pair well with it? English pub food of course! Only one slight problem: we hate English pub food. Ordinarily we hate stew too except that we happened upon this gem of a recipe (below) from Giada De Laurentis last month. Prior to this point, beef stew always tastes like beef stew and nothing could be less enthralling to me than the flavors of beef, potatoes, carrots and onion and mushed together into, well, mush. Seriously, gag me (sorry all you beef stew lovers!) But this stew recipe has changed my life (or at least my strong opinion). 

Why did I even make beef stew if I hate it so much, you ask? There is nothing like buying 1/6 of a cow to get you to change your ways and break out of your comfort zone. Especially when one of the packages of frozen meat comes with "beef stew meat" stamped across it in giant red letters. I even Googled "beef stew meat recipes" to try and determine an alternative use but, wouldn't you know it, I only encountered beef stew recipes.  

Oh but what a sweet surprise when I discovered the use of butternut squash in beef stew! And with an Italian twist! Seriously amazing. You can make just the beef stew and serve it as is along with crusty bread and it's delicious. Or you can continue on in the recipe and go all English pub on it and throw a pie crust on top like my husband suggested. Your choice. Both are winners!

Beef and Butternut Squash Stew (or Pot Pie)

Beef stew:
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 pounds stew beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup Marsala wine
1 pound butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
3 to 4 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
Crusty bread, for serving

Beef stew pot pie:
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1 (9-inch) pie crust recipe (or cheat and use Trader Joe's frozen ones like I did - I love them and they are transfat free!)

To prepare stew:
In a large soup pot heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and saute until the onions are tender, about 2 minutes. Toss the beef cubes in salt and pepper and flour. Turn up the heat to med-high and add the beef to the pot. Cook until the beef is browned and golden around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the Marsala wine. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir up all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the butternut squash and sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine. Add enough beef broth to just cover the beef and squash. Bring the stew to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Season the stew with additional salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread alongside.

To prepare pot pie:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare stew recipe through seasoning with additional salt and pepper to taste step. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add flour and stir constantly to brown for ~1 minutes to create a roux. Pour off stew liquid into the the flour/butter mixture, whisking constantly to eliminate lumps. Bring to a low boil and simmer until thickened, ~7-10 minutes. Return thickened stew liquid to beef and butternut squash mixture and combine gently (I discarded ~1 cup of liquid to keep liquid to solid ratio desirable). Pour pot pie filling into a greased, deep-dish pie pan. Top with pie crust, crimping edges and poke holes to vent. Place pie on cookie sheet and bake for ~1 hour, until crusted is golden brown. 

Serves 6

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posted by kelsie