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)