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!
- 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.
This beautiful and tasty dish is basically a one pan meal!
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