In fact, up until I tried this recipe a few years ago, I made beef stew exactly the way my mother did. It was all I'd ever known. I think we all probably do that...
You know...the standard beef, carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes...
Then I tried this recipe on a whim. Holy delicious! Who would have ever thought to put sun-dried tomatoes and butternut squash in beef stew??
This is actually a Giada De Laurentiis recipe, courtesy of the Food Network. However, her version is not gluten-free. And it is not done in the slow cooker, it's done on the stove-top in a dutch oven. If you prefer that method, you could certainly take a look at the original recipe!
For convenience, I turned this into a slow cooker recipe. Because if I can let that beautiful appliance do all the work for me, I would certainly rather.
However, keep in mind that this recipe calls for the squash and tomatoes to be added halfway into the cooking time (about 4 hours or so). If you are not going to be around to add those ingredients, you can certainly add it at the beginning. Just be prepared for the squash to be on the mushy side.
There's something about beef stew, simmering away all day, that warms the heart and tickles the senses. I adore the smell of this while it's cooking. My husband came home from work and declared, "Honey, the house smells REALLY good!" I'll take that as a compliment...
Serve this stew over rice or mashed potatoes if you wish. I serve it with chunks of warm, homemade, multi-grain gluten-free bread and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley. If you don't have Marsala, you could certainly use Sherry - though I don't know that I would recommend any other kind of wine. You could also use fresh herbs instead of dried (just use 1 Tbsp of each, instead of 1 tsp). This recipe also doubles nicely to serve a crowd or to have plenty of leftovers.
Butternut Squash Beef Stew (Slow Cooker)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8-10 hours
Yield: 4-6 servings
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 lbs Stew Beef or Bottom Round Roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 Tbsp Gluten-free Flour or Cornstarch
- 1 large Onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp dried Rosemary
- 1 tsp dried Thyme
- 1 cup Marsala Wine
- 26 oz Beef Stock
- 1 lb Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes, julienned
- Chopped fresh Parsley, for serving
- Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. In a large zip-top bag, combine flour, salt, pepper and beef chunks. Shake to coat. Place half of beef in hot oil and sear on all sides until browned, a couple minutes per side. Drain or shake off excess oil and place in basin of slow-cooker; repeat with remaining beef chunks.
- Use 1/4 cup of the beef stock or wine to deglaze the skillet. Simply add the liquid to the pan after you have removed the meat and it is still hot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned bits then pour the liquid into the slow-cooker basin with the meat. Don't allow the liquid to cook down at all - you're just quickly deglazing the pan because you want all that flavor!
- Place diced onion, minced garlic, thyme, and rosemary in the slow-cooker basin with the meat. Pour in remaining beef stock and Marsala wine. Cover and set slow-cooker to low-heat for 8 -10 hours.
- After 4-5 hours of cooking, add cubed butternut squash and sun-dried tomatoes to the mixture. Stir well to combine and replace the cover. You can add it all at the beginning, but the squash will become mushy and break down if it cooks for too long.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste just before serving. Ladle into individual bowls and sprinkle with fresh, chopped parsley. Serve with your favorite crusty gluten-free bread or rolls!
*Adapted from Food Network*
Happy gluten-free cooking!