Paleo Winter Squash and Beef Stew

By: Cassy Joy

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This Winter Squash and Beef Stew is hearty, rustic, and yet delicately flavored. I know it sounds like an oxymoron. Hearty and delicate? Let’s go with it! It’s a dish that will please hearty meal lovers, seasonal eaters, and nutrition buffs.

Baby, it’s cold outside.

Um, so why not go inside and snuggle up next to a fire with a bowl of stew!

This is the time of the year I just accept that my toes won’t feel warm again until the Spring defrost. Hot tubs and pedicures offer a brief reprieve, but no number of cute socks and Ugg boots warm up these tootsies.

Uh oh. I wonder if Gus’s toes are cold! With his poor naked footsies? Maybe he needs puppy boots! Oh mah goodness that would be adorable. Hm, I need to learn how to knit. To-do for 2014? I’m in! Bam. Next topic.

Life-changing winter squash and beef stew …here we go!

Paleo Winter Squash and Beef Stew

The best part about this dish? Well, aside from it being packed with all kinds of fabulous healing foods, it’s super-de-dooper simple to make. We’re going to brown the meat then let the slow cooker do the rest of the work.

It’s the easiest, tastiest, most satisfying, gourmet looking, crockpot-using meal of the season.

I chose butternut squash for this stew, but I encourage you to experiment with what speaks to you! This is a base recipe of which you can modify to the flavors you love and what you have on hand.

Paleo Winter Squash and Beef Stew

Easy as pie. If pie were a gourmet-tasting winter squash and beef stew.

Let’s make it!

We’re going to start with beef chunks/stew meat. I used about 1.5 lbs – make more if you have more mouths to feed! Before we season our meat, put 1 tablespoon of your favorite cooking fat (grass-fed butter, ghee, extra virgin coconut oil, or lard) in a medium/large sauté pan over medium/high meat. I used buttah.

Sprinkle the meat chunks with a few pinches of kosher salt. Then dust with cracked black pepper.

Is your butter melted? Then it’s ready to brown some meat!

Paleo Winter Squash and Beef Stew

Place the beef chunks in the pan over high heat. Spread them out so each piece gets contact with the bottom of the pan. Now, test your patience and try not to touch them for …about 3 whole minutes. No touchie! See how patience pays off? Beautifully browned meat nuggets. Flip them all over and let them brown on the other side too. Ah browned goodness. They’re probably still raw in the middle, the crockpot will cook it all the way through later.

Paleo Winter Squash and Beef Stew

Time for the star of the stew! Meet my butternut squash. Isn’t it cute? Other winter squash you can use for this recipe: acorn, buttercup, hubbard, banana, turban, delicate, and spaghetti. So many options! Have fun with it.

Paleo Winter Squash and Beef Stew | Fed+Fit-14

If you’re using butternut like me, let’s get to chopping it up. Lop off the top and bottom with a nice sharp knife. Using your knife, skin the squash. You could try using a peeler, but I don’t know how far you’d get. The skin is pretty tough and a knife works wonderfully. Watch your fingers, though.

Chop the squash in half, hotdog ways.

Using a big spoon, scrape out the seeds and stringy membrane.

Got ‘em all cleaned up? It was pretty easy, wasn’t it? Flip one half over and cut it into long strips about ½ inch thick.

Flip those pieces over and cut them in half, hotdog ways again.

Then cut those into cute little ½ inch cubes!

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Done! Doesn’t it look like cheddar cheese? I almost had Austin fooled. His sweet little heart skipped a beat when he thought I was making something with a massive amount of cheddar cheese. Not impossible …but also not likely. Unless a weird craving for homemade cheese enchiladas hits me one day. Now THAT is a real possibility.

butternut squash soup

Add the squash to your slow cooker of choice. My modest little butternut squash equaled 6 cups cubed. Add your blurry beef to the pot next.

Paleo Winter Squash and Beef Stew

Squeeze in the juice of one large lemon. The next part is fun because you get to play with flavors! Pick the rustic herbs you like. I opted for a piece of blurry thyme. And then some rosemary. Just one twig of each will do.

thyme

Pour in ~5 cups of either homemade or low-sodium organic store-bought beef or chicken bone broth.

Lastly, add 1 Tsp of kosher salt. If you’re especially sensitive to salt, add less. I just like the salt to cook into the other components during the day.

Got it all in there? The broth really just needs to cover all the goods – so use more or less if you need to.

Paleo Winter Squash and Beef Stew

Cover your slow cooker and turn the heat to low. Leave it to cook and make winter squash and beef stew magic happen for about 6-8 hours. I do NOT recommend you stir the stew – this way your delicate squash chunks will maintain their shape.

Now unshackle yourself from the kitchen and get out there in the world! Get some of that gift shopping done, bring the plants in, WOD, yoga, defrost your toes with a pedicure, walk the dog, go to the bank, and know that an army-feeding wholesome dinner is good as done.

Just before serving, pull those flavor twigs (aka, rustic thyme and rosemary herbs) out.

Then spoon it up! The butternut squash is going to melt in your mouth and the amazingly flavorful beef is going to fall apart.

I topped my winter squash and beef stew with a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh curly parsley. These bowls will warm you right up.

Paleo Winter Squash and Beef Stew

Remember that these are delicate flavors. If you're looking for more of a punch, add some garlic and onion! Austin added a pinch more of salt too. Mine tasted just perfect next to my Meiomi Pinot Noir.

Enjoy!

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Paleo Winter Squash and Beef Stew

Paleo Winter Squash and Beef Stew
  • Author: Cassy
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 6-8 hour
  • Total Time: 6-8 hours
  • Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 12 pounds of beef stew meat
  • 1 butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes {makes ~6 cups}
  • 1 tablespoon grass-fed butter {sub w/ghee, evco, or lard}
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 5 cups homemade or low-sodium beef or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 pinches kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons curly parsley, finely chopped {optional}

Instructions

  1. Season the beef chunks with a few pinches of kosher salt and some black pepper. Melt and heat the butter in a large sauté pan then add the beef chunks. Let the brown undisturbed for a few minutes on one side, turn, then repeat. Remove from heat.
  2. Add to your slow cooker: the cubed squash, browned meat, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, broth, and salt. Let it cook for 6-8 hours on low. Be careful not to stir the stew so that the delicate squash cubes maintain their shape.
  3. Discard the cooked herbs and plate ladles of the stew with a sprinkling of fresh chopped curly parsley.
  4. Enjoy!

Notes

Instant Pot Version:

  1. Add oil to instant pot bowl and select sauce button to heat.
  2. Add the seasoned beef and sear on all sides, approximately 3 minutes per side.
  3. When roast has been seared on all sides, press Cancel and add remaining ingredients except parsley to the instant pot.
  4. Cover pot, lock on the lid, and set the steam release valve to Sealing
  5. Select the Meat/Stew or Pressure Cook button and set the cook time to 40 minutes.
  6. When the cooking cycle has finished do a quick release by moving the valve to Venting.
  7. Serve as stated above.
Comments

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  1. thekoshercavegirl says:

    Mmmmm. This looks incredibly delicious!

  2. stephcormier says:

    WOW, this looks so good, yet it is so simple! I always forget that little things like lemon juice and fresh herbs can really brighten up a seemingly boring dish!

  3. Keara says:

    Delicious! This was my first paleo meal Ive made! Thank you

  4. Sunshine says:

    Yum!! We enjoyed this yesterday. And in typical fashion, I strayed a bit due to lack of something or laziness. I used frozen, pre cubed butternut squash because the whole cubing the fresh one intimidated me. My frozen easiness worked just fine. I also didn’t have fresh rosemary so I used the dry stuff. Taste was fine, but next time I’ll make a herb pouch so the flakes don’t take over the pot. It tasted fine, but the kids were a little turned off by the “specs”. Another delicious, easy dish from Fed and Fit. Thank you!

    1. fedandfit says:

      Thank you, Sunshine! Your comments always make me smile.

  5. Shannon says:

    How can I do this in the oven?

    1. Cassy says:

      Great question, Shannon! I recommend you set your oven at 350 F and bake for 2-3 hours.