Butternut Squash Stew
1½ lbs beef stewing meat (or lamb, chicken)
1 medium onion
1 small bay leaf
4 cups hot water
1 medium butternut squash (~2.5 lbs)
10 oz pitted dried plums (26 pieces)
1 flat Tbsp tomato paste (no more)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
pinch (1/16 tsp) pepper
4 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp lime juice
dash (1/8 tsp) ground saffron dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water
1 Tbsp crispy caramelized onion
- Trim fat and sinew from beef, cut in 2″ square pieces.
- Cut onion in half, putting cut side on the board, slice in ¼ inch thick slices.
In a deep, non-stick pot, add 2 Tbsp oil and put on medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add cut onions. Stir several times, until translucent.
- Add cut meat to pot with onion and sear all sides of the meat. Add hot water and bay leaf, lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, cut, peel and remove seeds of butternut squash. Cut them in ¾” thick rings or 1½” squares.
- Fry squash pieces in non-stick deep skillet (spatter screen may be needed) with 6 Tbsp of oil on medium-high heat, until golden crust forms on both sides (no more than 2 minutes each side).
- In (at least) 3″ deep, approximately 8″x12″ oven-safe dish, spread fried butternut squash pieces. Spread the plums over.
- Place rack on middle shelf of oven and preheat oven to 375F.
- When meat is semi-cooked (after 1 hour of simmering) add tomato paste, cinnamon, salt, pepper, sugar, lime juice, and saffron water, gently stir and simmer for one more minute. Pour meat mixture over squash and plums.
- Cover dish tight with foil, place in oven and bake for 1 hour or until meat is tender.
- Sprinkle with caramelized onion before serving.
- Serve with Persian rice.
Noushe jan / Bon Appétit!