A Rare Occasion – Cooking Meat

So I made an exception to my “I don’t cook meat” policy and made Beef Stew with Butternut Squash from SELF.com.  I was wasting time as usual, trying to avoid thinking about the looming pile of work that I really should tackle but didn’t feel like doing, and surfing for ideas for dinner.

Lately, with all the working out I’ve been doing, I know I need protein.  Sometimes I even think I want to eat meat.  Note the critical “think” in that sentence.  While I was cooking today, the smell of the meat as I browned it nearly made me gag, but I pressed on and ended up with a pot that looked something like this:

The photo is pre-simmering.  As you probably notice from the photo, I went a little rogue on the recipe.*  These are the changes I made:

  • added in extra garlic in the form of one clove of elephant garlic – I wanted the meaty smell gone in the final product (of course I don’t know how sound this reasoning is…just made sense to me)
  • fresh tomatoes in place of the canned diced tomatoes and tomato sauce – I have a universal rule against using canned tomatoes and canned tomato products for health reasons.  (I’ll have to write a separate post on this.)
  • added a little more broth to make up for the lack of tomato sauce
  • 1 pound, 4 ounces of butternut squash instead of 1 pound –  that was the size of the package I bought
  • added a dash more of spices to compensate for the extra squash

The result was fragrant “stew.”  The final dish was more a soup than stew, probably from the extra broth and the fresh tomatoes.  Also, browning the meat at the beginning resulted in some tough meat chunks at the end.  When I googled how to cook tender stew meat, I found that very, very slow simmering of the stew without the initial browning would have yielded tender meat.  Oh well.  The soup is fragrant and has a good kick to it.

I ate mine over some left over whole wheat pasta (actually it’s a pasta called super pasta from the grocery store brand – I refuse to eat other whole wheat pastas because they taste terrible!).

Dessert was piece of the delectably fudgy and dense cocoa brownies that I made last weekend and stashed in my fridge.

*PS I almost never follow a recipe exactly…sometimes out of impatience or sometimes because I’m trying to up the healthy factor. (Of course upping the healthy factor can sometimes result in inedible disasters – see PS note on this post about my macaroni from scratch)

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