With the first days of Autumn upon us, languid Summer heat is fading into chilly breezes, blankets of fog, and trees full of fire. Inclement Fall weather always brings out the inner rebel in me who refuses to allow the last days of summer to end, fervently wearing flip-flops and capris until my teeth chatter and I cannot take the goosebumps any longer. That moment ushers in warm, hooded sweatshirts, comfortable jeans, fleece blankets, and the desire for something pleasantly hearty in my tummy as my mind’s eye turns towards the threat of a cold Winter. Last year’s was nasty, filled with freezing rain showers, too many snow days, and cabin-fever. All I want to do is bask in the orange-fired glory of Autumn while spending time outside involves anything but hypothermia.
When my denial of the end days of Summer drains away, there’s nothing I long for than stew, particularly a colorful one made with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Moroccan beef stew traditionally calls for chickpeas, dried apricots, cumin, and Middle-Eastern spices such as Ras El-Hanout, simmered over a stove for a few hours. These spices add a bold flavor to the stew, but I wanted to try something different. I swapped out the chickpeas for cubed butternut squash, and I added my own spices: Ground grains of paradise, lemon-pepper, allspice, garlic, and fresh ginger. I even included golden raisins to brighten up the flavors in this dish, to try to hint at those last remaining rays of summer that I yearned for. I used a bit of beef broth that we had leftover from when we made Paleo Beef Barbacoa, which gave it a bit of heat to perk up the zing of the freshly grated ginger. Finally, I decided that this would be best cooked in a cast-iron dutch oven, which would quickly soften up the butternut squash while adding a slightly charred flavor to the stew.
The Hubster loved this so much that he went back for seconds before his first bowl was even finished. I consider this an accomplishment, and I wasn’t surprised at all when he announced that I should definitely cook this up again. This is one of our favorite recipes, and I got it right on the first try, even if I did experiment with a more traditional dish!
Serve this over riced cauliflower (paleo), quinoa (not paleo), or cous-cous (also not paleo), or eat it by itself. It is delicious!
- 1 1/2-2 lbs. Cubed Stew Beef
- 4 cups of Beef Broth (Preferably leftover stock from our Paleo Beef Barbacoa)
- 1/2 Medium-Large Butternut Squash, cubed
- 1 Medium Onion, diced (White, Sweet, or Yellow Onion)
- 2-3 TBSP of Fresh Ground Ginger
- 2-4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 3 oz. Tomato Paste
- 1 TBSP Local, Raw Honey
- 1/2 tsp Allspice
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground Grains of Paradise (or Pepper)
- 1/2 tsp Lemon Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 14 pieces whole dried Apricot (preferably organic)
- 1/4 cup Golden Raisins (preferably organic)
- 1 TBSP Olive Oil
- Peel and cube your Butternut Squash before you start cooking as this squash is one of the more difficult ones to handle.
- Preheat your oven to 400° F.
- Place your cast-iron dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 1 TBSP olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, but not smoking, add your cubed stew beef.
- Cook about 15-20 minutes, or until the juices are gone and the beef starts to brown.
- While the juices are cooking out of the beef, dice your onion, mince your garlic, peel and grate your ginger. Add to the beef once the juices are cooked out. Cook until onions are tender.
- Add your Allspice and your Cinnamon. Cook about 1 minute, stirring frequently so that the spices don't burn.
- Then add about 1/2 cup of beef stock to de-glaze the bottom of the pan. Continue adding a little bit of beef stock at a time, scraping at the bottom until it looks clean. Then add the rest of your beef stock. Bring your stock to a simmer.
- Add your tomato paste, honey, ground grains of paradise, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir, cover with the lid, and simmer for about 5 more minutes.
- Transfer the Cast-Iron Dutch Oven to the oven, and cook for 1 hour.
- Chop up your apricots. When an hour is up, pull the dutch oven out and place it back on the stove. Uncover, add your chopped apricots and golden raisins. Cover again, and place back in the oven for 15-20 more minutes.
- Ladle into bowls and serve by itself. Or you can serve this over riced cauliflower, if desired.
This can be made in a regular stock pot as opposed to the cast iron. Keep the pan on the stove, and when you've added everything, simmer for an hour on medium-low heat.
© Julie Marie Pierpont and Death Defying Diet 2013-Present