Beef and squash stew in the slow cooker is just what you need for the winter weekend. This healthful, low-fat and veggie-packed dinner is also great for detoxing after the holidays.
I wanted a stew loaded with vegetables. I often feel like with just beef stew you have to make a separate salad or vegetable side to make a complete meal. This beautiful and tasty dish is basically a one pan meal! Also, did I just say a slow cooker recipe was beautiful?? HA! It totally is!
I used thin slices of butternut squash for the top of the stew. To thinly slice the squash for the top use a mandolin or slicer. The slices don't have to be perfect. Just arranged in an overlapping pattern they braise to be tender and act as a beautiful "crust".
The fennel and squash add a slight sweetness to this dish, but also makes it healthy and hearty. I added tomatoes for richness and a little tangy acidity with the tender beef and sweet veggies. This dinner is family friendly but also diet friendly!
Beef and Squash Stew
- 2¼ tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- ¾ tsp ground black pepper
- 5 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 ½ lbs lean boneless beef chuck or round roast cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium fennel bulb cut into ½ -inch wedges
- ¾ lb Yukon Gold potatoes cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 can (28-oz can) whole tomatoes drained and halved
- 1 small butternut squash peeled, seeded and sliced 1/8 inch thick
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Combine thyme, salt and pepper; reserve 1 tsp of the mixture and stir cornstarch into the remainder. Toss the beef, fennel and potato in the cornstarch mixture and place in a 6-qt slow cooker, fitting the ingredients tightly; add tomatoes.
- Toss squash with oil and 1 tsp of the thyme mixture. Arrange the smaller pieces of squash on top of stew in a circular pattern, then repeat with the larger rounds to create a second layer; cover and cook 4½hr on high or 8 hr on low.
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Recipe by Tara Teaspoon
I’ve been in the food publishing business for over 20 years, creating recipes and food styling for magazines, books, television and advertising. Find out more about me!
Recipe by Tara Bench and Khalil Hymore
Photographer: Peter Ardito
Food Stylist: Susan Ottaviano
Prop Stylist: Michelle Wong
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal February 2011