Platter with beef stew with butternut squash
Makes 6 to 8 servings This flavorful beef stew comes from Tuscany, where it’s ideal with the region’s famed red wines. Guanciale is cured pork jowl, which you can find in some Italian specialty markets. Pancetta makes an acceptable substitute.

Ingredients

4 oz guanciale or pancetta 8 oz cipollini or pearl onions 3 lb…

CIA FOODIES


Peppery Beef Stew with Butternut Squash

Makes 6 to 8 servings This flavorful beef stew comes from Tuscany, where it’s ideal with the region’s famed red wines. Guanciale is cured pork jowl, which you can find in some Italian specialty markets. Pancetta makes an acceptable substitute.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz guanciale or pancetta
  • 8 oz cipollini or pearl onions
  • 3 lb beef chuck-eye roast, cut into 1 1/2 inch-cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, as needed
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups full-bodied dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted (soaked in water) and finely chopped
  • 1 cup Brodo or low-sodium meat or chicken broth
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb white mushrooms, brushed clean and quartered
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. In an ample oven-safe Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté the guanciale or pancetta until it is browned, about 6 minutes. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and spread it out on a paper towel. Reserve the drippings for use later.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil over high heat. Peel and trim the onions lightly (but try not to cut the root end too deep; that will help the onion hold together as it cooks.) Add the cipollini or pearl onions to the water and cook at a boil until the tip of a paring knife slides about halfway into the onion, about 6 to 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  4. Place the beef cubes in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pile the flour onto a piece of waxed paper or place it in a flat plate. Dredge the meat in the flour, shaking off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved pancetta fat or olive oil in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef in two separate batches.
  5. Brown the meat on all sides, about 5 minutes, adding another tablespoon of fat, if needed. Remove the meat and set it aside. Add the chopped onion and celery to the pot and sauté until almost softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and the add garlic. Continue to sauté for about 30 seconds more. Stir in the flour and, when it is lightly colored, about 2 minutes, pour in the wine. Add the porcini, scraping up any browned bits that may have stuck to pot. Add the broth, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and reserved pork bits and bring to simmer. Return the meat to the pan and bring the liquid to a simmer once again. Cover and slide the pot into the oven. Cook for a total of about 2 hours.
  6. In the meantime, in an ample skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved pancetta drippings or olive oil over high heat until hot enough to sear the mushrooms. Add the white mushrooms and sauté until browned, tossing frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from skillet using a slotted spoon and set them aside. Add the par-cooked cippolini or pearl onions and sauté over high heat until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  7. When the meat starts getting tender, after about 1 1/2 hours, add the butternut squash or pumpkin to the stew. Cover and return to the oven. Cook until the meat, squash, onions and celery are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes longer. Stir in the reserved mushrooms and the parsley, taste, and season with additional salt, if needed, and plenty of pepper.

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