Fall is in the air. Don't you just love this time of year?!? Here in Wisconsin, the temps have dropped, the trees have turned, and the crunch of leaves is abundant. As the days get shorter, I find myself craving hearty soups and stews to ward off the chill of the outdoors.
On a recent trip to the grocery store, T - my other half - spotted the most adorable little mini pumpkin in the produce section. Labeled with the perplexing name of Pie Pumpkin, I caved and let him talk me into it. I'm a sucker for cute tiny things. On another note, does anyone know someone who actually takes the time to make pumpkin pie out of a Pie Pumpkin instead of just purchasing a can of pumpkin ready to go? ME EITHER. So, with not an idea in mind of what to do with this Pie Pumpkin, I set off to find a recipe.
Behold: Beef & Pumpkin Stew ... slow cooker style ... Oh Yeah. I had a lot of fun making this dish since it included cooking with new ingredients I'm not used to - couscous, pumpkin, cinnamon stick. I was also excited because I'm new to slow-cooking, but prefer the classed up edition without all the cream soups and high sodium, and this recipe definitely has a flair for gourmet.
|Recipe via Williams Sonoma The New Slow Cooker|
BEEF & PUMPKIN STEW | Yield: 6 Servings | Prep: 30 min. | Total Time: 8 hrs
3 lb. chuck roast, cut into 1 inch chunks
Salt & freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1/3 C. dry red wine
2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
1/3 C. beef or chicken stock
1 lb. pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 green onions
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
Couscous, for serving
Season the beef chunks generously with salt & pepper. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add beef and saute until golden brown on all sides approx. 8 min. total.
Transfer beef to plate using slotted spoon.
Pour off most of the fat from the pan, and return to medium-high heat. Add the onion, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves and saute until the onion begins to brown approx. 6 min. Add the garlic and cinnamon and cook for 1 min. more. Pour in the wine & 2 Tbsp. vinegar and stir to dislodge any browned bits on the pan bottom. Transfer the contents of the pan to a slow cooker and stir in the carrots, tomatoes, and stock. Add beef, cover, and cook on the low setting 5 hours.
Scatter the pumpkin over the top of beef, re-cover, and continue to cook for 3 hours.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. vinegar, 1/4 tsp. salt, and several grinds of pepper. Stir in the green onions and mint.
Cook couscous as directed.
Serve stew in bowl over couscous topped with green onion mixture.
Both T and I loved this dish with it's clean, crisp fall flavors. We will be cooking with pumpkin and couscous more often!