Taking the ‘slowly’ out of slowly simmered beef stew

 

Main dish

Speedy Beef and Butternut Stew

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 pounds sirloin beef tips, cut into 1-inch chunks

3 cups cubed butternut squash (1/2-inch cubes)

1 cup baby carrots, halved

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 cups beef broth

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

Salt and ground pepper

In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the beef, in batches if needed to avoid crowding the pan, and cook, turning, until browned on all sides but still rare at the center, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a plate.

Return the saucepan to the heat and add the squash and carrots. If the pan is too dry, you can add a splash of olive oil. Sauté until the squash begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, and continue to cook until the onion is tender, about 6 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, broth, paprika, thyme and mustard powder. Bring to a simmer and cook until the carrots and squash are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Return the beef to the pot, as well as any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Simmer for 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 340 calories, 150 calories from fat (44 percent of total calories), 16 g fat (4.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 85 mg cholesterol, 23 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 28 g protein, 600 mg sodium.


Almost by definition, beef stew isn’t a weeknight-friendly dish. Stew meat generally is tough and requires a long simmer to become tender. But who has the time at the end of a long day at work?

Stews are so right for the season, that I decided to come up with a beef stew that could be tossed together on a weeknight. It was easier than I expected.

The first step was replacing the meat. Sirloin tips worked perfectly, but it was important to adapt the cooking technique to this tender cut of meat. If I just tossed it into the pot and let it cook with the rest of the ingredients, they would end up tough from overcooking. But if I added it at the end, it would miss out on the flavor development that browning provides.

The solution was browning the meat first, then setting it aside while the other ingredients cooked. The meat was returned to pot toward the end of cooking. The result was perfect taste and texture.

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