It's time for Craving Ellie in My Belly again, and this one is really a treat. Kayte of Grandma's Kitchen Table chose the Aromatic Beef Stew with Butternut Squash, from Ellie's So Easy cookbook. Although I do not eat beef, I knew that it would be simple enough to sub in pork for the beef. I do that quite frequently, and I always have good results. This stew is an interesting spin on an old standby. Ellie takes beef and browns it up briefly before removing it and setting it aside. Then, onions are cooked up with a bit of ginger and garlic, and then tomato sauce, broth, butternut squash, and a medley of warm spices are added into the pot. The beef goes back in, and then you let everything simmer away until the squash is nice and tender and the meat is fully cooked through. The stew is served on a bed of couscous and then garnished with chopped almonds and parsley (I didn't have parsley, though).
Because I had a ton of stuff to do the day I made this, I decided to brush the dust off the slow cooker and make the stew in there. It came together just perfectly. I browned my pork in a skillet, then briefly cooked the onions and garlic in its juices. I transferred everything to the slow cooker, along with the other stew ingredients, and turned the power on to the low setting. About 5 hours later, I had the most fragrant and tasty dinner! All I had to do was cook up some couscous and I was golden. I went with Israeli couscous for this (the big, pearl-shaped couscous) and mixed half white, half whole wheat. I loved this! It was warming, satisfying, and absolutely essential on the rainy evening we ate it.
Best of all, I realized just how much I like butternut squash! I haven't really worked with it much, and now I wonder why. I thought it was a great alternative to plain old potatoes in the stew, and it really enhanced the whole exotic feel of the dish.
Thank you, Kayte! I am so grateful to you for choosing this. Often when looking through Ellie's cookbooks, I just skip right past the beef dishes since I do not cook or eat it. Now I realize I should be giving them a second glance, because if I am able to substitute other proteins in place of the beef, I can find hidden gem recipes such as this one! If you'd like the full recipe, check it out over here. And for the CEIMB blogroll, click on over here.