I have a few things in queue to post but since the weekend is coming up and it’s cold in most places, I figured you guys might like an easy crockpot recipe. I made this one before but it was before I went grain-gluten-free and now my whole approach to stews and thickening agents has changed — for the better I think, since I tend to look for real food items to thicken now. It’s amazing how creative you can get and how incredible the results can be.
For this stew I actually used pumpkin – yes, pumpkin – to thicken the stew. I infused traditional savory stew flavors like sage and thyme with sweeter spices like allspice and nutmeg. The dried cherries and cubed butternut squash is a perfect offset to the tender beef. Unfortunately, this is not a “set it and forget it” type recipe as you have to add the cubed butternut squash in the last 2 hours. Otherwise, if you cook it too long, it just falls apart.
Sweet and Savory Sage Stew with Pumpkin and Cherries
What you need:
- 1-2 lbs of cubed grassfed stew meat
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 c. dried cherries
- 1 tbsp sage
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 1/2 cups beef stock
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/2 s tsp nutmeg
- 1 c. pureed pumpkin
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp of butter
What you do:
1) In a saucepan, melt the butter and saute the onions, sage and thyme on medium until the onions are translucent.
2) In a high heat skillet, quickly sear the meat until a brown crust forms. You do not need to cook this through. (You can skip this step if pressed for time.)
3) Add meat and onion mixture to crockpot with beef stock, nutmeg, bayleaf and allspice. Set on low for 6 hours.
4) After 6 hours, add in the cubed butternut squash and dried cherries and cook for an additional 1-2 hours or until the squash is soft.
5) Right before serving stir in 1 c. pureed pumpkin (or more if needed depending on how much liquid has evaporated)
6) Salt and pepper to taste.